In August 2017, The Times newspaper printed a sensationalised article about a young Christian child being 'forcibly' placed with Muslim foster carers. This article has since been rightly discredited by an independent inquiry which highlighted the value of Muslim foster carers and the care and commitment that was shown to the 5-year old child placed in their care.
The impact of such lazy journalism can be profound as it can discourage prospective foster carers from ethnic and minority backgrounds. There is already a shortage of foster carers from this sector in our society, and it is important we encourage people from minority backgrounds to come forward so their communities are much more representative in the fostering world.
It is widely accepted that the most important part is ensuring children and young people are protected from harm, but meeting a child's religious needs and helping to promote their identity must be carefully considered when formulating a care plan. The overall aim of a successful foster placement is to give children and young people an opportunity to experience the childhood they deserve and which they may otherwise have not had.
Cultural matching is important, but not imperative. In reality, it is not always possible due to the limited nature of the placements available, and other factors such as preserving constants in children's lives such as locality and schooling. The promotion of identity and life chances is one of the core tasks of a foster carer from whatever creed, culture or religion they may be from.
Recruiting foster carers from ethnic and minority backgrounds understandably enhances the ability to promote a child's identity who is from a similar ethnic background. Fostered children who identify themselves as being visibly different do need support to appreciate their cultural heritage and to face racism and discrimination. It is undeniable that black and minority carers are often well-placed to empathise with some of the experiences and difficulties faced and can help foster children develop a sense of pride in their identity.
With the British Government confirming the plan to take in over 6,000 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from Syrian refugee communities we are urging people from all backgrounds who have considered fostering to come forward to find out what they can do to help. We want to assist you to use your unique skills and heritage to help change the lives of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our society.
We will support you every step of the way and provide specialist training to help you provide quality care that is reflective and supportive of a child's heritage and identity.
Interested? If you would like to find out more please go to our contact us page, drop us an email or alternatively call us on 01924 792 184
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