Religion and Foster Care
At Pathway Care we’re passionate about hiring a diverse range of carers. The vulnerable children who come into our care arrive from a wide range of backgrounds. Therefore, we never discriminate based on race, gender, relationship status or age. The main priority is finding foster carers who are able to provide a secure, stable and loving home.
With that in mind, there are some things we need to consider when it comes to carers with religious beliefs. Whilst we welcome and accept applications from all religions, the number one concern is whether the child placed within the home will be accepted if their beliefs differ from the foster parents.
A focus on placements
We will always strive to match placements as closely as possible. This means also matching religious beliefs. We strongly believe that a child who comes from a religious background would benefit greatly from being placed into a foster home that practices the same beliefs.
Religion can present several issues which require specialist knowledge. For example, some religions don’t believe in certain holidays such as Christmas, or they have certain dietary requirements which need to be met. Therefore, matching placements in accordance with religion is in the best interest of both the child and the carer.
However, it isn’t always possible to place foster children into a home which follows the same religion. In this instance we do provide full training and support to help our carers understand the needs of the child in their care. What really matters, is that the beliefs of the child accepted and are not compromised or belittled in any way.
Dealing with conflicting beliefs
If you are taking on a child who has different beliefs to your own, it’s helpful to have as much communication with both your social worker and the child’s biological family as you possibly can. They will be able to tell you everything you need to know about the child’s religious beliefs and provide advice on how to cater to them.
Of course, it isn’t always possible to chat to the biological parents. If the child is old enough, you can talk to them and ask them how you can help them to continue with their faith. Do they need anything from you, such as to take them to church or provide specialist meals?
The main thing you need to remember when your beliefs clash with a foster child’s is that they have a right to choose their own religion. Or, if they are younger, their biological parents have the right to decide for them. You may not agree, but accepting your beliefs are different and accommodating for that is key to maintaining a good foster relationship.
All of our foster parents have a say in which placements they receive. Therefore, if conflicting religious beliefs are likely to cause a problem, you should let us know. It is vital that a child is able to feel safe and accepted in their placement.
Overall, regardless of which religion you practice, you will be welcome as one of our valued carers. As long as the child’s needs are put first and you’re willing to accept they may have different beliefs to you, your religion will not deter you from fostering and we’d be delighted to hear from you if you’re interested in getting started.