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Sat, Aug 21, 2010
The New Paper
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Sarah's mum fails to turn up
by Amanda Yong

THE six-year-old girl’s plight had moved 28 readers to contact The New Paper to offer gifts and money, and even to become a part of their family.

Now the authorities have stepped in.

Last week, The New Paper reported how Sarah has become “nobody’s child” since her mother, Kate, left her with a half-sister, Jane, 18. Jane has now been arrested and her sister Mary is now looking after the child.

We are not using real names as Sarah is a minor.

The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) said it is keeping tabs on Sarah’s situation.

A spokesman said a social worker from the Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) Family Service Centre (FSC) has been working with Sarah’s family members on the care arrangements for her.

“MCYS has been notified and is in touch with the FSC on the progress made,” he added.
“We understand that a family member has responded to the FSC and is coming forward to discuss the care plan.”

The Ministry of Education’s (MOE) pre-school education branch also contacted The New Paper on Thursday to find out how it could help Sarah get back to pre-school.

Not going to school

She has not been going to school since February as Kate did not tell Jane which school Sarah attends.

When contacted, an MOE spokesman said: “MOE is working with the relevant agencies to provide the girl with some pre-school experience over the next few months, before she enters Primary 1 next year.”

As for Sarah’s mother, she failed to turn up for a scheduled meeting with the AWWA social worker this week.

So what happens next?

Mr Mani Joseph, assistant director at the AWWA’s family service centre, told The New Paper yesterday that it has not given up on Kate.

“We still have to work with the mother, who’s the primary caregiver. She has some difficulties accepting her parenting responsibilities because of difficulties with her work and the need to survive.”

He said a letter has been sent to her since she missed the appointment, but the centre has not received a reply.

“Cases like these are not so straightforward. We’ll still make attempts to reach her...until we know the reason why she’s not responding,” he added.

But Sarah will not fall through the cracks, he insisted.

In the short term, she will remain with Mary as it would be in her best interest to be in the care of a family member for as long as the latter can cope.

“We want to get the extended family on board, get them to put aside their grievances for the benefit of the girl,” he said, of the initial “soft approach” taken.

Mr Joseph added: “We can use the hard approach, but we have to be careful because while it can get things done immediately, is that the ideal situation for the child?”

Being placed in foster care or a children’s home are longer-term solutions – and only when all other attempts have been exhausted.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

readers' comments
Where is sarah's father? Why so irresponsible father & mother? Some couples hoping to hv children but couldn't have and yet there are this type of parents around.
Posted by sengkang122 on Tue, 24 Aug 2010 at 08:59 AM
What is wrong with her mom!!?! Should put her to jail!
Posted by icemanV on Mon, 23 Aug 2010 at 21:10 PM
I am quite dishearten with how situation like this is being handled by those in the position to help Sarah. Sarah is a little girl who needs care and love from whosoever as long as the person is compassionate and loving. Why must it be from an extended family member? Are they the best choice? Please search our inner self and ask how this little girl is feeling now..
Posted by ticktockmen on Mon, 23 Aug 2010 at 20:16 PM
We are categorised as human in the dictonary context. That means we have a heart and sense of belonging. When the mother of this poor child had I presume consensual sex, have they ever thought the child wasn't in the 'menu'?. Who is to blame???. The child is pure innocent. The mother in my assumption is pure lazy and looking for an easy way out. Even as she could not provide for there are social workers and community to help. She blame it on her job? Man that is pure BS!. No job in the world that would not allow you to rest after dark. Even a Karaoke GRO goes home at wee hours in the morning to look after their family. My advise to all viewers, if you gotta have sex, be responsible and be human!.
Posted by powerballs on Mon, 23 Aug 2010 at 08:47 AM

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