The Need for more Muslim Foster Families

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Fostering isn’t something that I often hear talked about, especially within our community. But it is something I said I would have liked to do if we had a spare room and once our own children are older.

What will fostering involve?

If you decide to become a foster parent you will have responsibility for a child and will care for the child as part of a team which could include the parents and schools, health professionals etc. You will need to attend some training and will have to keep records and write reports about the child. And of course, simply be there for the child and meet their needs.

To become a foster parent most foster service agencies ask that you are 21 and have a spare room. You will need to go through checks as part of your application.

Why foster?

  • By fostering you can help a child have a brighter future.
  • By fostering can help provide a child with a stable environment.
  • By fostering you can help a child and their family have a break, with the aim of reuniting them in better circumstances.
  • Fostering can help a child’s emotional and physical well being.

Since 2019, the most recent data states there are over 80,000 children in care and in 2021 there are 62,945 white foster carers, compared to 11,705 non-White foster carers. In the year ending 31 March 2021 15.8% of newly approved carers were non White, compared to 25.6% of children in care being non-White.

Research has shown that there is a need for Muslim Foster parents. Although it is preferable that a child is placed in a home with the same religious beliefs to help with their development and also potentially to help ease the biological parents stress at being separated, it is clear that there are simply not enough Muslim Foster parents to achieve this.

Fostering is about providing a safe and stable home for a baby/child. Being removed from the family home is likely to be traumatic for the child, and being placed into a family that has the same cultural and religious beliefs can help make the move slightly less traumatic. A child will not have to worry about halal food or about praying if they have started their daily prayers and are likely to be more relaxed about being themselves.

Fostering helps children in need and Islam places such an importance on the well being and upbringing of children.

“I and the one who looks after an orphan will be like this in Paradise,”
showing his middle and index fingers and separating them.

[Sahih al-Bukhari 5304]

Prophet Muhammad PBUH

Although this specifically relates to orphans, the importance of looking after children and those in need in Islam is clear and fostering will be a rewarding experience.

There can be concerns about fostering older children due to them not being your mahram, but if proper practices are put into place this can be dealt with. Safeguarding practices should already be in place but others such as observing hijab and lowering your gaze would also need to be practiced.

If you are interested in fostering and would like to learn more, then ACS, where 73% of their foster families are Muslim, are holding some virtual information events.

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