Children and Families Bill

Memorandum submitted by Mr I Kala and Mrs A Kala (CF 121)

We are approved foster carers for an agency and both professionals as well (one being a qualified nurse and the other a local government officer).

As you are no doubt aware, there is a massive shortage of foster carers and people wishing to adopt, particularly people from minority groups and faiths. However, we are constantly being reminded at the time of referrals that there needs to be a cultural match. There are not many Muslim foster carers in our agency; this is by no means a criticism of the agency.

We have cared for muslim foster children and we are shocked that there are several other muslim foster children in non-muslim foster households. As muslims we have a duty to ask that children maintain their Islamic faith, or that matter for children of other faiths to hold on to their faiths.

At our annual review recently, the Independent Reviewing Officer said that she was ‘ignorant’ about our religion and our culture; she has recommended that our supervising social worker explores our culture and religion further with us, this was somewhat disconcerting as it is evident that the fostering agency that we are with has Muslim children placed in non-Muslim homes. If the professionals are ‘ignorant’ then are foster carers providing adequate holistically and culturally for the needs of these children. She has further recommended that culturally appropriate children should be placed in our care!

Rather than your proposed changes to legislation we would rather propose a drive to increase the number of prospective adopters and foster carers, which is representative of society as a whole. To build good social cohesion in the long term; children need to be placed with families who share their own language, culture and religion. This will ultimately allow children to flourish with self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem. This will give the children their positive sense of identity.

By allowing children to be placed with matching parents they are both allowed to share experiences of racism, prejudice and discrimination is society. These issues are endemic and institutional in many structures.

This proposal would ultimately discourage potential adopters and carers and would be detrimental in the long run. 

April 2013

Prepared 26th April 2013