The Foster Care Fortnight initiative in Tower Hamlets, has revealed a crisis shortfall. in the number of children needing foster parents and the families willing and able to look after them. A child goes into care every 22 minutes and the “Time to Care” campaign aims to encourage more people to become foster parents.
Over 65,000 children in Britain are currently in foster care. In Tower Hamlets, over 300 children need fostering each year, but there only around 130 fostering families. The council has responded with the running of information sessions across the borough to help raise the public’s awareness.
Emdad Talukdar, 57, is a Tower Hamlets community resource officer and foster parent. Sharing his own experiences of fostering at the Whitechapel Idea store this week, he told East London Lines about the commitment becoming a foster parent requries.
He said: “You have to have love and affection for somebody else’s child. You have to have a place in your heart for a child who is not your own.”
Talukdar and his wife have cared for 10 children over the last 14 years and he says they have brought them a lot of happiness. He says that foster families are helped financially by the authorities but like all new parents, foster carers have to learn new skills:
Talukdar outlines the responsibilities of being a foster parent: “My main role is to keep the records, take the child to the hospital, or doctor appointments, or contacting the social services for further advice and other things. But my wife, she does the main thing: cooking, cleaning, taking the child to school and back from school. So it’s a joint role, we share this role between husband and wife.”
In addition, Talukdar emphasised that fostering is not just a family role but a joint role within the whole community.
Talukdar says the walfare of the children is the top priority and the social services team in Tower Hamlets goes to great efforts to find families from the same culture or religion as the children.
For more information about Foster Care Fortnight and the fostering policies, visit the Fostering Network. To find out about attending a fostering workshop or helping to support National Foster Care Week in Tower Hamlets, contact Moustapha Bennadi on 020 7364 5432 or visit Fostering and Adoption