Why do we need Muslim Foster Parents?
There has been a shortage of licensed Muslim foster homes and as a result most Muslim children in foster care have been placed in non-Muslim foster homes. Outcomes for children and families improve when Muslim children are in Muslim foster homes.
When reunification is the goal, birth parents are able to focus more on rectifying the conditions which led to their child being placed in foster care instead of worrying about preserving their child’s faith. Children also experience less trauma from removal when the environment they are placed in is similar to their home environment.
Nationally there are approximately 400,000 children in foster care. Of those 400,000 children, approximately 100,000 are eligible for adoption. In Michigan, we have approximately 13,000 children in foster care and approximately 3,000 eligible for adoption. The precise number of Muslim children in foster care is unknown however, between 2012-2016 the number of easily identifiable Muslim children in foster care in Southeast Michigan has ranged from 50-75 at any given time. Currently there are approximately 16+ Muslim refugee foster children in Michigan foster homes, and over 30 Muslim refugee foster children waiting in refugee camps around the world for licensed homes to welcome them. Both these numbers are projected to continue to grow in the future.
What does Islam say about Foster Care?
Islam mandates that its adherents care for children in need. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “I and the one who cares for an orphan will be in Paradise like these two,” and he gestured with his two fingers, meaning the forefinger and the middle finger (classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmidhi).
Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (s) said, "The best house among the Muslims is the house in which orphans are well treated."
Sh Omar Suleiman discusses the rich Islamic tradition and tremendous rewards and virtues of adoption and fostering.
Sh Omar Suleiman goes into an in-depth discussion of the major Fiqh issues regarding adoption and fostering.