With almost 50,000 children needing foster care in Australia, what impact will this have on Muslim children who are exposed to homelessness, exposed to haram and not taught Islamic teachings?
NZF understands the importance of Foster Care Week on 13-19 September and is tackling the issue head-on with volunteers, a specially designed community program, and partnerships with like-minded organisations in the Muslim community.
In order to develop a better understanding of this issue, we spoke to passionate advocates giving first-hand perspectives on the issue and the help that is needed.
Asif Mulla, National Operations Manager at NZF, shared a personal story of driving through Parramatta (NSW) at night, looking for his friend’s child who ran away from home. He realised a Muslim foster care would resolve run away kids.
However, he realised the dire need for a foster care organisation run by the Muslim community. One that advocates and unites Muslim foster parents to Muslim orphans and children; especially, children who often get lost in various adoption systems without any access to culturally and religiously appropriate care they need.
“With almost 50,000 children in the foster care system in Australia, we know that 2.6% of the population are Muslims,” Asif explains. It is a major issue in Australia. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the need for foster care locally which is why it is overlooked.
Soon, Ahmad Malas who is the project director of My Foster Family (MFF), a not-for-profit Islamic foster care service that facilitates Muslim foster children to welcoming Muslim families made a remarkable decision to collaborate with NZF along with various Islamic welfare and national agencies.
Asif was also on a similar journey which led him to Ahmad.
Together, they decided to combine the community welfare services provided by both organisations to start the Fostering Hope Program at NZF. This program is designed to support orphaned or homeless Muslim children in need by providing them access to service partners like MFF who join the children with a loving home.
Hayfa Bakour, a dedicated events manager at MFF, is currently advocating for the government to recognise cultural needs for children within the foster care application and allocation systems while advocating to ensure that Muslim children are entitled to be housed by Muslim families.
She understands the importance of a foster care service dedicated to aiding vulnerable Muslim children.
“These children have been hurt and carry a significant amount of trauma. Older children who cannot be placed with a family are put in homes with limited supervision and children from non-Muslim backgrounds. You can imagine how insufficient this would be for a young person with complex needs.”
NZF aims to provide support services to both foster families and foster children including, mentoring, community care, extracurricular activities for youth and children, and more.
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer by contacting My Foster Family: 1300 663 729. If you would like to donate to support foster children, please go to: www.nzf.org.au/pay.