FAMILY LAW 2.10 FOSTERING
A child that is not properly cared for by his parents can be taken away to a foster home or institution where proper care and nurturing can be given to him. Part 11 of the Child Rights Act provides for fostering.
Section 101 Child Rights Act and Section 27 Children and Young Person’s Law provides that a child can be fostered when:
- He is abandoned, orphaned or deserted by his parents/relatives.
- He cannot be taken care of by his parents
- Voluntarily presented/presents itself for fostering.
- He is abused, neglected or ill-treated by his custodian/parent.
- He/she is a vagabond or destitute: merely roaming about.
An applicant for fostering (just like in adoption), must be at least 21 years older (25 or 35) than the child to be fostered, of same gender, a citizen of Nigeria, a person of integrity, mentally, physically and financially fit to care for the child.
The foster parent is thus placed in the position of a natural parent. There shall be supervision by a social welfare officer to ensure that the foster parents are providing the care and nurturing which the child’s natural parents were not able to provide.
The foster parents must obey the court and cooperate with the authorities. He must seek the consent of the court before making important decisions in relation to the child (like sending him overseas).
In addition to the discussion above, the following are prohibited in relation to fostering (and adoption):
- The marriage between an adopter and the juvenile is prohibited because adoption create blood relationship between them-See Section 118 Child Rights Act Section 22 of the Adoption Law of Lagos.
- Receiving payment or reward in consideration for the adoption of a juvenile is prohibited except with the leave of the court. Section 17 Lagos State Law.
- Sending the child outside the state for adoption is prohibited.
In conclusion, fostering is regulated by the government in the best interest of the child.