Last week a Sikh couple successfully won their legal discrimination battle when they were rejected by their local adoption service because of their Indian heritage.
The couple told the BBC that, “This decision ensures that no matter what race, religion or colour you are, you should be treated equally and assessed for adoption in the same way as any other prospective adopter. “We felt there needed to be a change. This is what this case has all been about for us, to ensure discrimination like this doesn’t happen to others wishing to do this wonderful thing called adoption. “And today’s landmark ruling will ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
It is important to note that 24% of children in care in the UK are from BME backgrounds and in need of adoptive parents. My Foster Family is dedicated to tacking discrimination that prospective adoptive parents from BME backgrounds may be undergoing.
Much of the work of My Foster Family focusses on working with local authorities to ensure that they are aware of the need to be faith and culturally sensitive. In addition, we want to support adoptive parents from BME backgrounds who are struggling with the current system in adopting a child so that a child is placed in a family that can meet their needs and faith sensitivities.
In 2017, Mercy Mission and The Fostering Network with the support Better Communities Business Network (BCBN) launched the Muslim Fostering Project. The Fostering Network carried out a detailed study of understanding the barriers to recruiting Muslim foster carers. Internal release the importance of the report snippets out of the report.
The report highlighted how 80% of applicants from the Muslim community did not go past the initial hiring stage to foster a child and in some areas up to 90% of Muslim children are were placed away from their faith group. This is a staggering statistic which shows that more needs to be done to ensure that adoptive parents get the support they need to see them through to the final stages and be in the position to successfully adopt a child.
There is a real shortage of both foster carers and adoptive parents in the UK and there needs to be more awareness of the benefits of looking after a child through fostering and adoption.
Many people who want to adopt a child may have been through traumatic experiences in trying to conceive or have been told they cannot have children, and when they see adoption or fostering as an option there are many people who do not get through the initial hiring stage and this could leave prospective adoptive parents disheartened with the system.
We aim to bridge the gaps and work towards a system that local authorities can implement to ensure that the process of matching adoptive and foster parents with children is fair and equal and that everyone has the same rights in adopting and fostering a child.