Back in April 2018, Team Fostering had the privilege of hosting a group of social workers and managers from Iraq, as they visited the North East to gain valuable insight into the foster care process here in the UK. Representatives from STEP (UK), an international development charity, and the Kurdish Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs met with several of our foster carers, managers and social workers to develop their understanding of how Team Fostering operates, and how this might relate to their own common goals in the Kurdish region of Iraq.
As Team Fostering Director Walter Young stated at the time, “I’m delighted that we can share our knowledge and experience with STEP (UK) and the Kurdish Regional Government. This visit to the UK has offered them the chance to learn about what we do and why it’s so successful. Sharing our expertise in this way can make a big difference to children’s lives.”
Flash forward to 2020, and Walter has now just returned to the UK after some time in Iraq with STEP (UK), following up on the growth of the project since the group’s UK visit in 2018. Nearly two years on, foster care resources are firmly in place in the Kurdish region, and a total of 16 placements have been made. The team are now looking to develop their short-term and emergency placement options.
The project hasn’t been plain sailing however, as setting up foster care in a location without the prior infrastructure to support it remains a challenging process. As Walter explains, “People don’t always understand the concept of foster care when they first encounter it, so a huge part of the task is raising awareness of what fostering is, and why it’s so beneficial to children and young people in the area.”
To help with this, Walter also arranged for a very special conference call while he was in Iraq. His sister Emma, a foster carer in Scotland, skyped in to give an honest, insightful view into the care of the children and young people she works with. This gave those working within the care system in Iraq an added real-life perspective on the sector outside of Team Fostering, which they valued immensely.
Walter's sister Emma on a skype call with the Iraq project group
With Walter’s support, foster care organisations from around the world have benefited from Team Fostering's advice and expertise. If you're interested in fostering or in learning more about what it means to operate as an ethical agency, you can speak with us on 0800 292 2003.
To find out more about the valuable work STEP (UK) does, visit http://www.step-uk.com/