Shahzad Mustafa remembers considering of his personal childhood when a employee from the Youngsters’s Assist Society visited his mosque to discuss concerning the significance of Muslim families fostering kids of the identical religion.
His mom had taken in three Muslim foster kids for a couple of months when he was younger — an expertise he mentioned had a profound affect on his life.
Because the CAS employee informed the congregation in Markham final 12 months concerning the shortage of Muslim foster families in the area, Mustafa says he was struck by a necessity to act — a sense that ultimately motivated him to launch a corporation devoted to encouraging Muslims in the Higher Toronto Space to become foster caregivers.
“We needs to be taking care of our children and we needs to be a part of an even bigger answer,” the 50-year-old informed The Canadian Press.
Once we take youngsters from one tradition and put them in houses which are of a special tradition, that’s not in their greatest curiosity.– Mahesh Prajapat, COO of CAS Toronto
“As immigrant communities become extra distinguished inside Canadian society, there wants to be extra outreach inside these communities to carry extra families into the foster-care motion.”
The group, known as FosterLink, launched in March with help from Mercy Mission Canada, a Muslim neighborhood improvement group that Mustafa is the director of.
Group has ‘undoubtedly seen an enormous curiosity’
FosterLink hosts occasions at mosques to increase consciousness about fostering and join with potential caregivers, Mustafa mentioned. To date, it has recruited about 50 people who find themselves going by a months-long utility course of that would see them become foster dad and mom.
“We have undoubtedly seen an enormous curiosity,” he mentioned. “The consumption course of could be very rigorous … foster care is not meant for everybody and there are strict necessities.”
In accordance to the Ontario Affiliation of Youngsters’s Assist Societies, between 2016 and 2017 there have been virtually 13,000 kids and youth in care throughout any given month.
You recognize in your coronary heart that you just’re purely doing this for the sake of the kid, this is not about you anymore.– Reshma Niazi, foster dad or mum
The Youngsters’s Assist Society of Toronto did not present precise figures on what number of Muslim kids are in foster care, however mentioned there was a necessity for extra caregivers of that religion.
“We perceive that after we take youngsters from one tradition and put them in houses which are of a special tradition, that’s not in their greatest curiosity,” mentioned Mahesh Prajapat, chief working officer of CAS Toronto.
“Id is vital, but it surely’s not simply id. It is the sensation that you’re someplace comfy … from meals … to customs.”
‘That is about giving again’
Fostering kids includes taking care of a baby who’s underneath the non permanent care of Youngsters’s Assist till their unique guardians are deemed match sufficient to take them again or the kid is adopted.
To become a foster dad or mum by Youngsters’s Assist, families should full a house research analysis to see if their houses meet security requirements, in accordance to the Ontario Affiliation of Youngsters’s Assist Societies. Caregivers additionally bear coaching the place families study abuse and neglect a baby might have confronted.
For Reshma Niazi, one of some Muslim foster dad and mom in the Higher Toronto Space, offering a supportive non permanent house for a kid of her religion is a method of following the teachings of her faith.
Islam, she mentioned, teaches the significance of caring on your neighbours, one thing fostering permits her to do.
“You recognize in your coronary heart that you just’re purely doing this for the sake of the kid, this is not about you anymore,” she mentioned. “That is about giving again to the neighborhood, giving again to these kids who simply want non permanent houses.”
Niazi and her husband grew to become foster dad and mom 13 years in the past and have cared for between 15 and 20 kids, she mentioned. The couple even have a son and two adopted kids, one in all whom is a former foster baby she cared for.
Whereas fostering is not straightforward, it is extremely rewarding, mentioned Niazi, who has inspired different Muslim families to become foster caregivers as nicely.
“For the couple of weeks, couple of months, your life adjustments. Now you have bought this additional particular person in the home,” she mentioned. “Once you give the kid again, you understand you probably did your piece.”