Working with faith groups to recruit foster carers
Meeting the shortage of foster carers in Ealing is continually at the forefront of activity within Ealing council’s Fostering and Adoption Recruitment team. Despite ongoing activity to increase awareness and understanding of fostering, some people still rule themselves out based on a number of misconceptions; faith being one of them.
Whilst rewarding, fostering can be a challenging experience and our fostering team provides access to support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Having a strong support network outside of the Council is also important and often can be found through people’s faith.
Places of worship such as mosques, churches and synagogues commonly nurture a strong sense of community among attendees, offering emotional, physical as well as spiritual support.
Making a positive contribution
For some carers, it has been their faith that provided the motivation they needed to take on the role: faith often inspires community spirit and a desire to make a positive contribution to society. Through the role of being a foster carer they are able to make a difference to the lives of children in their community.
Ealing Council proactively works with its foster carers from different faith groups to produce and develop campaigns to reach more potential foster carers from their faiths. Working groups have been developed to establish the best way in which to reach different groups. Foster carers have also provided useful contacts for gaining access to places of worship which otherwise may have been harder to get in to.
"Islam is a way of life which promotes love compassion and empathy in caring for others regardless of race colour or creed. I believe fostering enriches our lives as we fulfil our religious duty to serve others. My faith instils my commitment and dedication to make a positive contribution to society." Alveina, Ealing Foster Carer.
Children from all backgrounds are taken into care, and where possible they are placed with families that will enable them to continue practising and developing their faith. This is particularly important for long-term fostering.
Recognising the benefits that come with being a part of a faith group, we are reaching out to faith groups across the borough to recruit carers, whilst aiming to bust some of the myths or misconceptions that are held.
In the last few months we have begun work with National Christian Charity, Home for Good, who not only believe Christians have a duty of care for our vulnerable children but that they are well placed to get additional support.
“The Church is uniquely placed to offer its help to meet this need – both in terms of finding families to foster or adopt and providing an excellent community of support to wrap around those who do.” - Home for Good
Together we are delivering presentations and targeted information sessions specifically for the church to encourage members to consider whether they have the capacity to open their homes to children in care or ways in which they can support those in their congregations that do.
The Fostering Network brings together everyone who is involved in the lives of fostered children and young people to lead, inspire, motivate and support them to make foster care better. To support our work visit www.fostering.net/donate or to donate £10 text FOST37 £10 to 7007