UAE laws on fostering and sponsoring children – All you need to know

While adoption of children is not allowed in the UAE, citizens and residents who meet the country’s set requirements can sponsor the cost of living of children under various programs.

The UAE law concerning a child’s rights, also known as Wadeema’s Law, states that a child who is deprived of his or her natural family, has the right to an alternative care through a foster family, or a public or private social welfare institution, if a foster family is not available.

Only Emirati citizens, however, are eligible for fostering a child.

Eligibility criteria for fostering a child

  • The foster couple or family must be Muslim, Emirati and be residing in the UAE
  • They must not be younger than 25 years of age
  • The guardians must not be convicted of offenses or crimes involving moral turpitude
  • They must be free of infectious diseases or psychological and mental disorders
  • The foster family must have the ability to support its members and the foster child financially
  • They must undertake the promise of treating and raising the child in a proper manner and take care of his or her health and well-being

Required documents

The Ministry of Community Development (MoCD) oversees the foster care program in the UAE. Citizens looking to foster must present the following documents while submitting a foster parent application through the MoCD.

  • Copy of Emirates ID
  • Personal photo of the couple
  • A copy of the parents’ family book
  • A copy of their passport
  • A disease free certificate
  • Salary certificate
  • Certificate of good conduct
  • Documents providing proof of home ownership

Can single women foster?

Single women in the UAE are allowed to foster a child if they meet the eligibility criteria.

  • The woman should be Muslim, Emirati and residing in the UAE
  • She must be at least 30 years old
  • She must be able to support the child financially

Other than MoCD, other government institutions also provide child care facilities, including the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi, the Community Development Authority in Dubai and the Government of Sharjah Social Services Department.

The Emirates Red Crescent Authority also facilitates sponsoring programs for orphans inside and outside the UAE, and the Zakat Fund runs an ‘Orphan’s Project’ to support families of orphans.

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