UAE: Is it legal to adopt a child? Laws, eligibility explained

UAE: Is it legal to adopt a child? Laws, eligibility explained

The UAE offers monthly support to orphans and children without known parents who are under the care of residents.

Parents interested in adopting a child in the UAE may encounter confusion due to the laws regarding fostering and raising a child.

While formal "adoption" is not allowed by law in the country, residents can provide care to a child of unknown parentage, with specific conditions to follow.

To safeguard the rights of orphans, the UAE has established laws ensuring their protection. Under federal law, the country offers monthly assistance to orphans under the care of UAE citizens, as well as to children with unknown parents.

The UAE law, known as Wadeema's Law, emphasizes the rights of children who are separated from their natural families. According to this law, such children have the right to alternative care, which can be provided either by a foster family or by a public or private social welfare institution if a foster family is unavailable.

Furthermore, the law regarding foster parents outlines provisions for caring for children of unknown parentage in the UAE. This includes the establishment of child care homes and the identification of eligible foster families capable of providing comprehensive care, including health, recreational activities, and psychological, social, and educational support to children in need.

The Ministry of Community Development (MoCD) is in charge of supervising child care homes and ensuring proper foster families for children.

From eligibility to orphan protection entities, here's what UAE law has to say about 'adoption' in the country.

Criteria for fostering a child

  1. The foster parent or couple must be Muslim, Emirati and currently residing in the UAE
  2. The guardians must not be younger than 25 years of age
  3. They should not have been convicted of offences or crimes involving moral turpitude in the past
  4. They should not be suffering from infectious diseases or psychological and mental disorders
  5. These parents must have the ability to financially support family members and the foster child
  6. The parent must undertake the responsibility of treating and raising the child in a proper manner and take care of his/her health and well-being

Can single women foster?

Single women in the UAE are permitted to foster a child under certain set terms and conditions — this includes divorced and widowed women. These are as follows:

  1. These women should be a Muslim, Emirati and residing in the UAE
  2. Women who are eligible to apply must be at least 30 years old
  3. They must be able to support the child financially

Documents required from citizens

Citizens looking to foster a child are required to present select documents while applying for a foster parent application through MoCD. These are:

  • Copy of Emirates ID card
  • Personal photo of the couple or parent
  • A copy of the parent's family book
  • Passport copy
  • A disease-free certificate must be provided
  • Salary certificate
  • Certificate of good conduct
  • Documents providing proof of home ownership

Apart from MoCD, other authorities in the UAE provide child care homes too. These are:

  • Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi
  • Community Development Authority in Dubai
  • Government of Sharjah, Social Services Department

Child-sponsoring programmes

  • The Emirates Red Crescent Authority facilitates sponsoring programmes for orphans inside and outside of the UAE
  • Zakat Fund operates an ‘Orphan’s project’ which supports families of orphans

News Source: Khaleej Times

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