Cultural Diversity in Fostering
Hello again, we hope the heat is providing you with lots of opportunities for fun in the sun! And a very Happy Eid to all who celebrated with family, friends and carers 😊. This week, we are taking a look at the need for cultural awareness and diversity in fostering.
But what does this even mean?
It’s important that the carers that we work with reflect the young people we care for. Where possible, we always try to culturally match carers and young people. Sadly, there is a national shortage of Black, Asian and other minorities in foster caring. Between 2020 and 2021, 80% of newly approved Foster Carers were white. This, and other statistics related to fostering in the UK can be found HERE.
Proportionally, young Black people are more likely to come into care than their White peers, and less likely to be adopted. It is well known that coming into care is often highly traumatic; imagine being placed in a family whose physical appearance, cultures, religion and so on are hugely different to your own. The shortage of carers who reflect Black and other ethnic minority young people means that they are also more likely to be placed outside of their usual geographical area. This makes travelling to school, family contact and maintaining clubs and friendships much harder.
As you can see, the need for carers who reflect the cultures, backgrounds and experiences of our young people is vitally important. A young person’s sense of identity and security is often fragile, especially those who cannot live within their birth family.
Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children
Global conflicts and immigration regularly make the headlines. We have all been moved by images of children arriving, hungry and scared, on boats across the sea.
For the young people in the photos, they face an uncertain future in an unknown country. They most likely don’t speak our language, know our way of life or have anyone they can trust.
In 2018, the UK took 15% of all UASC from across Europe and offered them homes. This will sometimes be Residential Homes, and sometimes it will be a foster home. 
It stands to reason that Lorimer has seen an increase in referrals from across the country, seeking foster homes for UASC. We are only able to offer homes to these children where our carers have appropriate understanding of the experiences of UASC. This is another way in which having Foster Carers from diverse backgrounds is vitally important.
If you think you might be able to offer places, often short term for UASC, please get in touch.
 Factsheet: Unaccompanied asylum seeking children – Home Office in the media (blog.gov.uk)
How else can we make a difference?
As a Foster Carer, you already make a difference. However, being available for young people from all backgrounds might mean you need some extra skills or training. This might mean:
- Skin and hair care
- Providing a culturally appropriate diet, such as Halal or Kosher
- Understanding other religions and supporting a young person to observe festivals
- Being proactive in challenging racism or other forms of discrimination
At Lorimer, your Supervising Social Worker will be able to support you to access additional training that meets the needs of the young person placed with you. Equality and Diversity training is included in the mandatory courses that all carers must complete.
It is also vital that carers of BAME young people understand the impact of racism on their lived experiences. There is a wealth of studies on the inequality faced by BAME youth in schools, health services, the justice system and so on. Supporting young people through these experiences and nurturing their self-esteem means being prepared to advocate and stand up against those who discriminate against them.
Take the time to educate yourself about casual, or micro-aggressive racism. Make anti-discriminatory practice part of your Foster Carer skillset.
Here are some useful online resources include:
- MIND – BAME students’ mental health
- BME Youth – an organization that supports the BAME youth community
- National Autistic Society – supporting BAME young people with autism
- What is anti-discriminatory practice? – An article setting out what ADP is
In other News..
Lorimer are actively seeking to diversify our Fostering Panel. If you or anyone you know would be interested, get in touch! Just click the link below to find out more.
Next week, we will be looking at having fun in the sun (safely!) and going on holiday with children in your care.
We hope you found this blog about cultural diversity in fostering useful. You can also stay up-to-date with other news and stories by following our social media pages. Here are some links to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
Get in Touch
You can call, text or WhatsApp Rachael on 07938 575 738; or send an email to: email@example.com. If you would prefer us to call you, please submit your details using the form below; and we’ll get back to you soon!