The experiences of Muslim foster carers and prospective foster carers are explored in a report launched today by leading fostering charity The Fostering Network.
The Muslim Fostering Project report summarises the findings of a national programme which was led by The Fostering Network in partnership with Mercy Mission UK and funded by the Better Community Business Network.
The project looked at areas of challenge in the recruitment and retention of Muslim foster carers in England, with a focus on how to provide the right support to children and young people from the Muslim community.
The report highlights the importance of training and support for non-Muslim foster carers looking after Muslim children. Other recommendations include:
- The importance of collecting data about the number of Muslim looked after children and how a child or young person’s faith is taken into account when being placed with a foster family.
- Fostering services should review their recruitment literature and assess how it responds to the needs of a prospective Muslim foster carer and the wider Muslim community.
- Fostering services should consider how fostering service staff are trained and supported to conduct initial visits and assessment of Muslim applicants to fostering.
- Fostering services should identify the resources needed for its foster carers caring for a child with a different faith to their own.
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network said: ‘At The Fostering Network we understand the importance of stability for fostered children and young people and the detrimental impact of making the wrong match between a foster family and child. We also know how important cultural and religious support can be as part of making the right match first time.
‘The Muslim Fostering project has identified the gaps in information and opportunities for fostering services across the country to enhance their provision for Muslim foster carers and Muslim children in foster care. We hope that the recommendations for vital change within the report will help more Muslims make an informed decision about becoming foster carers and encourage a focus on providing the right support to children and young people from the Muslim community.’
Shadim Hussain, CEO of My Foster Family, an organisation established by Mercy Mission UK during the course of the project, said: ‘While we recognise there is a need for more foster carers, particularly from the Muslim community, we feel optimistic that where the findings and recommendations from this report are actioned, we will see a significant improvement in both foster carer recruitment and the experience Muslim children in foster care.’
For more information and to read the report visit thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/MFP
Notes to editors
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The Muslim Fostering Project, led by The Fostering Network and our partners Mercy Mission UK, and My Foster Family set out to explore the experiences of Muslim children in foster care and that of Muslim foster carers.
The Fostering Network is the UK’s leading fostering charity. We are the essential network for fostering, bringing together everyone who is involved in the lives of fostered children.
We support foster carers to transform children’s lives and we work with fostering services and the wider sector to develop and share best practice. We work to ensure all fostered children and young people experience stable family life and we are passionate about the difference foster care makes. We champion fostering and seek to create vital change so that foster care is the very best it can be. thefosteringnetwork.org.uk
Mercy Mission UK is a key incubator that has delivered strong and successful projects over the last decade. MMUK works to strengthen the role of the Muslim community in British society. A unique platform that has forged strong partnerships across faith communities, government, private enterprise and the third sector to benefit the most vulnerable people in society. MMUK has developed My Foster Family to continue and grow the essential work of the Muslim Fostering Project. www.mercymission.org.uk
BCBN is a Muslim-led charity, bringing together professionals, politicians across the political spectrum and heads of charities to facilitate community engagement. Since its inception, BCBN has raised over £1.4million in funds for community causes and has attracted support from respected figures such as HRH The Prince of Wales to the Mayor of London, Rt Hon Sadiq Khan among others.
BCBN provides grants to grassroots voluntary and community groups working with deprived communities in the UK, programme areas range from education and poverty to social cohesion, health and wellbeing. BCBN also works with academic institutions, researchers, think tanks and government departments, seeking to overcome barriers to a more just and equal society. www.bcbn.org.uk