THS v THT

CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
JudgeRegina Ow-Chang Yee Lin
Judgment Date02 November 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 139
Citation[2015] SGFC 139
Publication Date18 November 2015
Docket NumberOSA No.67 of 2014
Plaintiff CounselMr Andrew Hanam (Andrew LLC)
Defendant CounselTHU appearing in person.
Subject"Adoption,dispensation of consent of natural parents"
District Judge Regina Ow-Chang Yee Lin: Background

On 11 March 2014, the applicants file an originating summons to adopt a 9-year old child. The child had been in their care from 18 September 2008 to January 2009; September 2009 to July 2011,and from 21 Feb 2014 to date. The natural father of the child consented to the adoption while the natural mother objected to it.

The chronology of events which led to the child being in the care of the applicants is as follows:

Date Event
8 Sep 2008 The 3 year old child was referred to the Child Protection Service (CPS) by a family service centre (FSC) for allegations of physical and emotional abuse by the natural mother. There were concerns over the mother’s repeated use of inappropriate physical punishments despite interventions by the FSC.
18 Sep 2008 Child placed in the applicants’ care with parental consent. The applicants were registered foster parents with the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.
Jan 2009 Child returned to the natural parents’ care as they had shown progress in learning positive parenting methods.
29 Jun 2009 Child re-referred to CPS by xxx hospital for alleged physical abuse. The child had been admitted to hospital for hyponatremia (low level of sodium in blood) and was dehydrated. In the course of CPS’ investigation of the allegations, the father reported that when the child vomited after drinking water, the mother would continue to force her to drink. The mother gave less food to the child to eat compared to her brother. The mother admitted that she had forced the child to drink 100-150ml of water every hour as the child was “heaty” but did not realise that that would result in water intoxication. She gave less food to the child as she was younger and was small-built. The parents quarrelled often over the mother’s treatment of the child and this led to the mother threatening to commit suicide with the children. The father felt helpless and thought it would be in the child’s interest to be placed in alternative care.
8 July 2009 to Sep 2009 Child placed in a second foster parent’s care with parental consent.
Sep 2009 to July 2011 Child transferred to applicants’ care with parental consent when the second foster parent was unable to continue with her care. The child remained in the applicants’ care until the male applicant informed CPS that his work contract may not be extended beyond 2012. During this period, several steps were taken by CPS to improve the relationship of the parents and the child with the view of re-integration of the child into her natural family. The steps were as follows: The parents were referred to the Ministry’s Clinical and Forensic Psychology Branch (CPFB) for assessment of their emotional and parenting capacity and counselling therapy. The child was also assessed by the CPFB for the impact of the abuse and subsequent therapy The parents attend the 10-session Triple P (Positive Parenting programme) to learn parenting concepts and strategies in dealing with their children. The child continued to have access to her natural family. She started with weekly supervised access at a FSC, then progressing to unsupervised outings, then to weekly weekend home leave.
July 2011 Child transferred to a third foster parent’s care with parental consent.
Mar 2012 The parents and the child were referred for Intensive Case Management to work on ways to improve the marital communication between the parents and how to be attuned to the needs of the children and to manage them effectively.
6 June 2013 Child was re-integrated into her natural family with student care in place to support the parents’ care of the child.
2 July 2013 (?) Father left the matrimonial home with the child after alleged physical abuse by mother of child and quarrels with the mother over their respective treatments of their children.
December 2013 Father and child returned to matrimonial home after natural mother agreed not use any form of
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