Foster family honoured for dedication to special-needs kids, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Foster family honoured for dedication to special-needs kids

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She quit her job to raise three children - but they are not her own.

In 2001, at age 43, Madam Hawa Bee Mohammed Hussain, who had signed on to become a foster parent, became a mother to two special-needs boys, one aged nine months, and the other, just 10 days.

Her husband, retired security officer Abdul Rahim Moidin, who was then 51, would later take them to school and the playground.

The couple's own daughter, Wahedah Rahim, then 18, signed up for classes on how to manage the older boy's fits.

Two years later, they opened their home to another child - a baby girl just 16 days old who also has special needs.

For their dedication to the foster children, Madam Hawa Bee's family was given the Kampung Spirit award by Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura (PPIS) Oasis yesterday.

As one of four government-appointed fostering agencies, PPIS Oasis provides support to Madam Hawa Bee's family, and a social worker visits them once every two months.

The awards ceremony took place at a PPIS Oasis event in Queenstown.

Addressing the 40 families at the event, Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and Education, said it was heartening to see people coming forward as foster parents.

He said: "Every child is important to Singapore. Singapore has no natural resources - only you and I, and our children. If we are able to give every child a good start, it means a lot for the country and a great deal to the child."

PPIS Oasis also distributed awards to 20 foster children for good conduct, excellence in the performing arts and for doing well in their studies.

New foster parents were also given awards for their efforts.

PPIS Oasis said it will be ramping up programmes for beneficiaries in the form of a regular support group for foster parents and more excursions and workshops to facilitate bonding.

The number of foster parents in Singapore has almost doubled, from about 240 in 2013 to about 470 last September.