The foster care system looks different from country to country. While in some countries foster parents are considered to be the legal parents of the children until they turn of legal age, in the Maldives, the foster care system works very differently.
Children who are placed in the foster care system, who are ‘adopted’ are not legally adopted. When children are placed with foster parents and are referred to as "adopted," the legal status of the arrangement differs from traditional adoption. Rather than a permanent legal adoption, foster parents are typically considered temporary legal guardians until the child reaches the age of 18 and can make their own decisions.
While foster care might be a complicated and tough process for both the legal guardians, and especially the child who undergoes this process, the purpose of foster care is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children who are unable to live with their biological parents due to various reasons, such as neglect, abuse, or parental incapacity.
Foster care is often considered a temporary solution, aiming to address the immediate needs of the child while working towards a more permanent resolution, whether that be reunification with their biological family or finding a suitable permanent placement, such as adoption. But when it comes to the Maldives, one of the priorities of the foster care system is to provide the foster child with a safe home where they can grow and become their own person who can then make their own decisions in life rather than acting as a middle ground before the child gets adopted.
While the foster care system is in place for good reasons, the foster care system is known to have its faults, which has caused people to speak up very often about how the system needs to be looked into more closely in order to provide children with the proper care that they need.
With this, there has been an amendment to the Regulation on Children in State Care in order to ensure a safer foster care environment for children in the Maldives. The amendment to the regulation, which came into effect immediately after being published on 04th May 2023, introduces new clauses pertaining to cases where legal guardianship of children was granted to foster parents prior to the implementation of the Child Rights Protection Act.
As per the new amendment, any parties who became foster parents or legal guardians prior to the Child Rights Protection Act which was introduced in 2019 are required to be re-integrated as per the new Law within the next six months. The Regulation also requires a situation assessment of the child and the foster parents.