We always try to ensure that children in our care are placed with foster families that can meet their needs. This includes religious and cultural needs – however this is not always possible. Carers are sometimes asked to care for children and young people with religious and cultural differences to their own family.

To support our carers in being able to provide the best care possible, we decided to focus on this topic for our October North East Carer Support Group. We invited Karenza, the Director of the North East Religious Resources Centre, to come and hold a talk on religion. Karenza facilitated an open discussion around different faiths, religions and cultural practices. She also gave examples of cultural stereotypes, dispelled common myths and highlighted particular religions which are often negatively targeted in the media. All the carers attending the group received reading material from the Religious Resources Centre which offered further information on the subjects discussed. They also had the opportunity to ask questions about religious and cultural differences.

The carers really enjoyed the session and feedback included:

I found the session very thought provoking. Karenza’s ability to gently challenge potentially judgemental / unfounded values or thoughts was very impressive.”

“She appeared to be able to offer alternative ideas, insert other concepts, relate expressed concerns to all cultures/ faith so seamlessly.”

“The carers present whom I spoke with found the session equally informative, enjoyable, accessible but a bit ‘too short”.

“I found it to be EXCELLENT and really enjoyable!!  The atmosphere was relaxed; the information was informative.”

“I loved the open discussion and the trainer was very interactive with the group. Some words that spring to mind: thought provoking, educational, inspiring; made me want to learn more.”

One of the carers said they didn’t want it to end and that Karenza would have to come back again! Karenza stressed that she was available for advice or information to all carers. This was especially relevant if carers would benefit from specific advice in relation to their current placement.

The session lasted for 2 hours and all carers present enjoyed the session. With such a great response, we will be inviting Karenza and the Religious Resources Centre back very soon!