The task of understanding ethnic identity is complicated because the uniqueness that distinguishes each group makes it difficult to draw general conclusions. A focus on the common elements that apply across groups could lead to a better understanding of ethnic identity. However, research suggests that children have always had diverse experiences of childhood across culture and class which illustrates the capacity for affection and cruelty across generations within different societies.
Children from the ethnic minority group that are placed with non-ethnicity carers usually need extra help to make sense of their identity and history.
Evidence suggest that some young people experience immense strains of being cared for by a non- ethnic minority family such as having a growing sense of alienation, difficulties with social integration and personal relationships, as well as a negative impact on their mental health.
Furthermore, most young people, foster carers and foster care staffs are of the opinion that being in foster care presents more than enough challenges when living in a family with a different ethnicity and culture. Children in foster care want carers to value and respect their identity and their past experiences. Although, it is important to remember that a child’s heritage may not always be obvious fromtheir physical appearance. Yet their life experiences may be closely linked to a particular culture, ethnicity or religion. These factors must be taken into account when choosing a placement.
We know that the crucial role of social services is to protect children first and then consider the rights of parents second. The Children Act, 1989 gives an expectation that due regard must be given to the child’s wishes and feelings, but this must take into account their age, level of understanding , their religion as well as race and culture (CA, 1989, s22 (4) and (5)). However ,this can be an area of palpable tension as social workers have an overriding duty to put the welfare of the child or young person first (CA, 1989, s1).
The true picture in practice is that, the local authority struggle to meet the ethnic, racial and religious needs of children of minority ethnic groups placed with Caucasian fosters carers. This may be due to little choice or children may be placed in emergent situations with carers who do not match their needs.
However, we need to remember that all fostered children from ethnic minority backgrounds, wherever they are placed, need good support to appreciate their cultural heritage and to face the draconian racism and discrimination. A child’s history, identity, experiences and ‘sense of self’ is intrinsically linked with gender, race, ethnicity, religion, family and social culture. Hence the needs of a child cannot be understood and met without full consideration of these factors.
It is evidenced in research across most social services that there are a disproportionate number of children from minority ethnic backgrounds in the care system, and these children typically wait longer for a permanent family than white children. The burning questions we should ask ourselves are the following:
Why is there a shortage of families for this vulnerable group? Are prospective adopters and foster carers not coming forward, or are they not being reached by adoption and fostering teams? What can be done to improve the situation?
The answer to these questions is NINI SOCIAL CARE service. We are wholeheartedly committed to ensuring that there are a reasonable number of foster carers within this ethnic minority group available to the Local Authorities across UK and Other European Countries to cater for ethnic minority looked after children. This will ensure that children from a minority ethnic background placed in foster care will have a choice and experience a stable family life in a placement that will meet their racial, linguistic, cultural and religious needs.
NINI SOCIAL CARE will help you to address fears and misconceptions about caring for vulnerable people.
We will build confidence in potential carers, through modelling and our committed social workers will retain significant connection after approval at the request of the carer.
Although it may not be the primary motivating factor, higher levels of pay and support is available to help in training and supporting and retaining foster carers.
NINI SOCIAL CARE can hold seminars within your group meetings anywhere in the UK or Europe to raise awareness of this gap in the community.
NINI SOCIAL CARE will ensure that all aspects of the identity of ethnic minority fostered or adopted children are positively promoted and these ethnic minority children are able to make better sense of their history and heritage if and when they interact with people particularly people from the same ethnicity.