Custody of children of unknown parentage in the UAE
Federal Law No. 1 of 2012 on the Custody of Children of Unknown Parentage ( PDF-4.34 MB) provides the provisions for caring for the children of unknown parentage in the UAE by establishing and developing care homes, and ensuring custodial families to provide health, psychological, social, entertainment and educational care for them.
According to Wadeema’s law, a child who is deprived of his natural family in a permanent or temporary manner has the right to an alternative care through the foster family, or a public or private social welfare institution if a foster family is not available.
Adoption by non-Muslim residents
Expatriate couples who are not Muslims can adopt while living in the UAE as per the laws of their country/ies of citizenship and that of the child's.
Their embassies in the UAE must determine whether the parents are fit to adopt and then may legalise the adoption. The couple can then take necessary documents to the country where they wish to adopt, where they contact a lawyer or facilitator who can help them find a child in an orphanage.
Next, they must go to a court in that country to certify the adoption and then to their own country's embassy to legalise the process.
Please note that the process and requirements for adoption may differ from country to country. Please check with your embassy in the UAE.
Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai plays a key role in providing foster care and ongoing follow-up of abandoned children in the emirate of Dubai. It encourages Emirati families to enrol in the programme to embrace a child with a caring and loving family as one of their own.
For children who do not have foster families, CDA ensures the availability of alternative families or female staff members who act as substitute mothers and aunts in a domestic environment similar to that of a normal family.
The embracing family has to meet the following criteria:
- The family willing to foster a child should be an Emirati Muslim family staying in the UAE.
- Spouses should be at least 25 years old.
- A single mother willing to foster a child should be at least 30 years of age.
- The family should have displayed good conduct.
- Foster family/single mother should be free from infectious diseases or psychological and mental disorders.
- Foster family/single mother should be able to financially support family members and the child.
- Foster family should undertake to treat the child well, bring them up in a proper manner, take care of their health and protect them.
Reade more about the embrace programme and its related services.
Updated on 26 Nov 2020