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