Adoption of orphans ‘helps social integration’ in Saudi Arabia

Adoption of orphans ‘helps social integration’ in Saudi Arabia
Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmed Al-Rajhi. (SPA)
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Updated 05 January 2020

Adoption of orphans ‘helps social integration’ in Saudi Arabia

Adoption of orphans ‘helps social integration’ in Saudi Arabia
  • Government provides full support to take care of a child

JEDAH: Dr. Majed Qanash, a behavior and psychological specialist, has told Arab News that adopting orphans can aid their integration into society and have positive benefits on their mental state. What matters, he said, is whether the new parents are capable of treating the orphaned child as if he or she is their biological child.
“Unfortunately, we discovered that some families do not treat orphaned children well while some treat an orphaned child nicely, but everything changes after having their first biological child,” he said. “There is no doubt that such actions can have a negative impact on the mental and psychological state of any orphan.”
It is important that orphaned children are treated equally without any form of discrimination, Qanash said. 
Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmed Al-Rajhi announced earlier that the ministry plans to increase the number of foster families who can take care of orphaned children in 2020 and to shut down all orphan care centers.
The ministry reported a rise in the number of orphan care applications submitted by foster families and set the number as 3,000 applications from all over the Kingdom. The ministry also said that 8,694 families have adopted children.

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In 2017, the number of fostered orphans living with 7,358 Saudi families reached 8,412. The General Authority for Statistics said that Riyadh had the highest number of foster families at 1,611 with 1,914 orphans, followed by the Eastern Province at 745 families and 876 orphans, while the Northern Borders Region had the lowest number with 14 families and 15 orphans.

The ministry spokesman, Khalid Aba Al-Khail, said that the Family Foster Care Program aims to place orphans with families that can provide them with care and an environment conducive to sound mental and psychological development. Placing an orphan in a shelter house is a last option for the ministry.
The program also offers children a chance to live with a ministry-licensed family where he or she can learn the culture and acquire good values and morals and intermingle with their peers in society. The program supports orphaned children until they become independent. There are four requirements that foster families need to meet in respect to health, social, psychological and economic aspects, which ensure that the child will be raised in a good environment.
The government provides foster families with full support such as monthly allowances that help them take care of a child financially. The ministry launched the Family Foster Care Program within Vision 2030 because it believes it is the best option for the care of orphans, Al-Khail said. 
The ministry requires that the wife of the foster family should be younger than 50 years old and the family should enjoy good economic conditions and be free from contagious diseases and psychological problems.