According to government figures, 84% of approved foster carers are white. Yet only 77% of fostered children are white. 22% of children in need of foster care are from minority ethnic groups. Worryingly, 9 local authorities have reported having no long-term foster carers from minority ethnic groups, yet all reported planning minority ethnic children within their fostering service. This is worrying reading when we understand the importance of faith-based foster placements.
There is a school of thought that cultural diversity doesn’t matter when it comes to foster care, and that all that matters is that the foster carers are respectful and willing to home the child. However, there is also growing research that shows that children fare better, especially in terms of their self-identity, when foster care is provided within a culturally familiar environment.
Why does cultural diversity in foster care matter
A child coming in to foster care is already experiencing enormous upheaval. The overwhelming majority of children coming in to foster care are doing so because of abuse and/or neglect. They will already be facing a huge amount of change. The foster family will do things differently, and have different boundaries and expectations. It’s all a huge amount for a vulnerable child to adjust to.
It can therefore help to minimise some of that change by providing a faith-based foster placement which ensures a consistency in their religious or cultural identity. As the child continues to grow and develop their sense of self, this can have a positive impact. If there is disruption to the child’s ethnic, religious or cultural identity, it can lead to low self-esteem, confusion and difficulty understanding their own origins.
How to offer culturally diverse and faith-based foster placements For this reason, at Active Care Solutions, we specialise in these types of placements. All the usual tenets of a nurturing foster family must be present, but in addition, these placements actively mirror or support the culture or faith of the child in care.
This offers familiarity, security and consistency to a child at a time of immense change, and supports their growing identity.
To do this, requires a highly bespoke approach. We know that ethnic minorities are under-represented in foster carers, so we work to encourage new foster carers from a broad range of backgrounds which mirror the backgrounds of foster children. This involves close working with communities.
Where it isn’t possible to place a child within a family with the same faith or cultural base, we require our foster carers to support the child’s faith and culture as best as they can. We train them in how to do this and provide ongoing support with the fundamental ethos that everyone’s beliefs and culture should be respected.
The team behind faith-based foster placements
Therefore, the team at Active Care Solutions is, itself, hugely diverse. We have a team that together speak a multitude of different languages and can offer support within the foster family’s mother-tongue.
We offer unique cultural-specific training which gives our foster carers the knowledge they need to meet the faith and cultural needs of the children in their care. This is backed up by support groups comprising members from a range of backgrounds and faiths.
We are therefore an inherently different kind of fostering agency meeting the distinct needs of minorities. We see first-hand the positive and enduring difference our foster carers make in helping children feel nurtured, secure and strong in their identity. Find out more about faith-based foster placements by calling 0800 917 7937.
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