Foster parents are licensed individuals who care for children who are temporarily removed from their homes when those homes are unsafe. State governments and agencies determine such homes to be unsafe in cases of exceptional abuse, neglect, drug dependency, or when children have been suddenly orphaned or abandoned. Meanwhile, government agencies work diligently to investigate these cases and work with family members to get counseling and treatment so that the children can be returned home.
To become a foster parent, you must obtain a license in your particular state. This often includes completing a home study and taking parenting classes. The foster parents who take these children into their homes are paid for the living costs associated with the children they care for. Some foster parents choose to care for one child and others agree to take in several children into their homes. Foster parents can provide agencies with their preferences about the types of children they can care for. Foster care can be a very scary thing for children who are suddenly removed from their homes and placed in a strange, unfamiliar place. To add salt to the wound, these children are questioned by investigators, and visited by case workers, counselors, guardian ad litems, and lawyers on sometimes a weekly or biweekly basis. Being in a good, loving home can provide these children some comfort and stability when their worlds have literally turned upside down. At times, children are placed into foster homes where they are abused or treated poorly. It is important that good, generous, upstanding foster parents be available to these children in need.
Oftentimes, Muslim children who come into the system cannot be placed in Muslim foster homes because there are little to no licensed Muslim foster parents in the city or county of those children. Muslims have an obligation to care for abandoned and orphaned children ((laqeet and yateem). See Muslim Perspectives. Other than your generous time and love, it does not cost you anything to become a foster parent. The rewards however are likely endless. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, contact a foster agency in your city and state and ask them for more information. A simple google search will likely yield results of foster agencies in your area.
If you are interested in providing care to Muslim children who come into the system, be sure to mention you are Muslim. Some agencies do cater to certain religious groups and might not be interested in providing services to Muslims interested in fostering. You should trust that the agency you work with will make attempts to match Muslim children who come into the system into your home should the need arise. Oftentimes, agencies recognize the need to place children in homes that are somewhat familiar to them.
Please send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you are in the process of becoming licensed to foster, where you will become licensed, and to let us know of agency recommendations for other Muslims who are interested in fostering. If a Muslim child in your area is in need of a foster home, you may be contacted. We can also connect you with other Muslim foster parents, should you be interested in speaking with them about their experiences.
Listen to Project Sakinah Foster 101 Audio at http://projectsakinah.org/