The cornerstone of any religion is love, care, openness and community - values which align very closely with fostering. Brighton & Hove City Council foster carers identify with many different faiths and their faith plays an important role in their day to day lives as carers.
Fostering as a Muslim family
One of the core beliefs of Islam is to help others in need, which made fostering a great match for Sajjad and Esmat. They currently foster a 13-year-old boy and are looking to foster more children in the future.
Esmat said: “As Muslims, we believe strongly in the values of compassion, generosity and opening our home and our hearts to someone who needs love and care.”
Annie left a successful career in the hospitality industry to pursue her dream of providing a loving home to a child in need. “Having reached the pinnacle of my career in the hospitality industry, I decided to seek other challenges in life; to make the world a better place and to improve the lives of others.” When asked what it was like to be an approved foster carer, Annie said “It feels great, alhamdulillah!”
Naseem fosters with her husband. “As a Muslim couple in our late 40s we still had that get up and go feeling. The thing that attracted us to fostering was that we simply love children. We discussed our decision with family and friends in the community; we were surprised at some of the reactions we received as some were very negative. However, one of the community leaders said that fostering a child is rewarding and pointed out that God is pleased with people who take the time to care for children.”
The 2022 Annual Roundtable Report on Muslim Heritage Children in Care states that “there is a clear and unequivocal acknowledgement within the British Muslim community of our religious obligations towards Muslim children who no longer have the support of their family structure. For Muslim-heritage children in care to heal and thrive, it is vital for the Muslim community to play an active role.”
Fostering as a Christian family
Through fostering, Mark and Heidi felt they could put their Christian values into action by accepting and loving children whatever their behaviour and background, by showing grace, forgiveness, and patience.
Heidi said: “As parents, we provide all our children with what they deserve - kind, loving, consistent parenting. Everyone has to keep in mind that children are in care through no fault of their own. They deserve the opportunity to be part of a loving family. The Christian faith is about people being called home to Jesus through love and kindness. We want to be able to offer that love and kindness to children as well. We knew we could offer that to a child in care. We feel we are called to support children.”
Kate was 24 years old when she was approved as a single carer. She says: “The church are my family and support network. Through church we get support from all generations, including being prayed for, which to me is very important.” With a 15- year-old boy in her care and a girl on the verge of turning 13, Kate says “it is not always plain sailing, but the children are beautiful and watching their characters, personality and confidence grow as they experience new things in life is a wonder to be seen.”
Matt Davis, a pastor at Emmanuel Church Brighton, responsible for engaging congregations in Family Life initiatives, says "we've found that the strength of our faith communities, in all of their diversity, have lent themselves to a nurturing space for the flourishing of families. You could say 'it takes a church to raise a child', and that would be the experience of many of our families - biological, blended, adoptive or fostered."
“My encouragement to all faith communities in our City is to explore, along with the Brighton & Hove Fostering Team, the possibilities open to us to play our part in meeting a great need amongst us."
Fostering as a Jewish family
Suki and Danny have been foster carers for six years, since their own children were three and six.
Suki and Danny have taken in both Jewish and non-Jewish children and welcome the opportunity to share traditions with them and to learn about theirs. “If you can open your heart and your home, this is one of the most rewarding and satisfying things you can do,” says Suki.
Suki and Danny say that fostering epitomises the Jewish value of protecting the vulnerable and urge others in the Jewish community to step forward.
Training and support
Many religions have a set of values which encourage followers to be thankful, compassionate and respectful. These are positive traits which are hugely beneficial for children in care.
The Brighton & Hove City Council Fostering Team will equip you with the training and support you need to support the children and young people in your care. They are proud to work with and support organisations such as Muslim Foster Network, Home for Good and The Brighton & Hove Inter-Faith Contact Group (IFCG), to ensure that all foster carers and the wider team have ongoing learning and development opportunities.
It is vital that equality, diversity, and inclusion are central to the Brighton & Hove fostering community. Class, gender, marital status, race, sex, age, faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability should never prevent you from getting in touch and will never prevent your application from progressing. The fostering team are proud of their fostering community, which includes children and foster carers from all walks of life.
If you have room in your heart and home to foster, our team would love to hear from you.