Calling Enfield and Haringey Turkish families: have you ever thought of fostering a child?

Enfield Council and the Turkish Cypriot Community Association are hosting an event next week to try to recruit new foster families to help plug the national shortage of foster carers.

Fostering involves caring for children in your home whilst their parents are unable to look after them, which can be on a temporary or permanent basis.

In 2019, a staggering 2.3 million children in Britain were assessed by the authorities as ‘living with risk because of a vulnerable family background. Of these, around 723,000 children were in the care system receiving statutory support or intervention.

In Enfield, on average, there are 459 Children Looked After (CLA), meaning they are in some form of care. The authorities need to find a suitable foster care placement for around 9 children every week.

There are lots of reasons why a child is deemed vulnerable and can end needing care. They could be subject to abuse (emotional, physical, sexual or neglect) by their parents or other significant members of the family. A parent could have a serious medical illness or mental health issues that prevents them from caring for their child. Or there could be domestic abuse or drugs or alcohol abuse by parents, making the home an unsafe place for children.

Sometimes, parents struggle to copy with their child’s behaviour, illness, learning disability or physical disability, which requires the child to be put into care. And increasingly, there are also unaccompanied minors who are entering the UK.

The Turkish community constitutes one of the largest ethnic minorities in northeast London. Statistics show 1 in 5 people in the London Borough of Enfield speak Turkish.

For that reason, the fostering team at Enfield Council are holding an open evening to inform Turkish families about what fostering involves in the hope they can increase their pool of Enfield foster carers.

“We need foster carers for children of all ages between 0 – 18, ethnicities and needs, for both short-term and long-term care. We also need foster homes for siblings and children with special needs.

“The more foster carers we have, the better we are able to match children with foster carers who can meet their needs,” Renée Powell, Team Manager at Enfield Council’s Fostering Recruitment & Assessment Team told T-VINE.

“We look at the strengths and circumstances of each foster family, and we work closely with foster families to match the family with a child or children who are best suited to the foster family, to ensure that best possible outcome for the foster child and the foster family. In doing so, we are very mindful of the needs of birth children and the importance of ensuring that they are on board with fostering too.” Renée explained.

“Our more experienced foster carers often also take emergency placements, when we may or may not have prior information on the children coming into care.  We work in partnership with foster carers to share information on the children we place with them, to enhance their understanding of the needs of the children,” Renée added.

The team said they are “excited” to host their “first event at TCCA centre”, which they hope will help them engage the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot community on how they can become foster carers, which “will be a huge benefit to many of our children in care,” Renée stated.

The event will allow would-be foster carers to learn about the reasons why people foster and the benefits to the local community, the types of fostering, and what makes a good foster carer and the process involved to become one.

Oktay and Debbie Hussein will be on hand to explain their experience of fostering. The couple have a longstanding positive working relationship with Enfield Fostering Service, having successfully fostered for Enfield for nine years up to 2023. The pair are currently supporting Enfield’s fostering recruitment drive and are helping to organise the event at the TCCA.

“There is a massive shortage [of foster carers], currently especially with Enfield and they are also specifically looking for Turkish carers. We are holding an information event on the 12th December at the TCCA in Harringay and we hope lots of people from our community will attend,” said Oktay.

Details about Tuesday’s open evening at the TCCA can be found below.

Event Details

Title: Interested in Fostering Children?

Date: Tuesday 12 December 2023

Times: 6pm to 8pm

Venue: Turkish Cypriot Community Association (TCCA), 628-630 Green Lanes, Harringay, London N8 0SD

Admission: this event is free to attend and no prior registration is required. Just turn up on the night. There is some parking space at the venue and on-street parking from 6.30pm on surrounding side streets.