A couple from Enfield have won a Fostering Excellence Award, the UK’s most prestigious fostering accolade that has recognised their exceptional contribution to foster care.
Kahina Hayouna-Ounoughi and Khaled Ounoughi were presented with the Outstanding Contribution by a Foster Carer Award, at The Fostering Network’s annual award ceremony at Birmingham’s Repertory Theatre.
The couple, who have three birth children, have been fostering with Enfield Council for the past five years. Over the years they have cared for seven children, including four siblings aged 8, 11, 13 and 14.
Having looked after two of the four siblings initially, long-term foster carers Kahina and Khaled decided to also welcome the other two children into their home, knowing the importance of keeping siblings together, where it is in the young people’s best interest.
Kahina said: “The siblings love each other and have a bond, which is needed to be kept so they aren’t strangers in later life. We were determined to do what we can to ensure the four children can grow up together and have a relationship with each other.”
Not only do Kahina and Khaled go above and beyond for the children in their care, they have also played a significant role in helping recruit more foster carers in their local area.
Emphasising the importance of community and highlighting the need for more foster carers to come forward, Kahina said: “Neighbours and friends have become foster carers since we have. I’d encourage people to find out more and I’m always there to offer advice.
“Fostering has not only allowed us to change young people’s lives, but it’s changed us as people too. I was a shy person before but now I feel strong and confident when advocating for the children we care for.”
Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Enfield Council, Cllr Abdul Abdullahi, said: “We were very proud to hear that Kahina and Khaled had been recognised at The Fostering Network Awards, for their continuing commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for foster children in their care in Enfield.
“I would like to send my warmest congratulations to the couple on their award and say a big thank you to them for their unwavering dedication to caring for vulnerable children in the borough.”
Across the UK, a further 9,300 foster families are needed in the next 12 months alone, to ensure all children in care can live with the right foster carers for them. Foster carers come from all walks of life and backgrounds and are crucial in transforming young people’s lives.
Chief Executive of The Fostering Network, Kevin Williams, said: “Congratulations to Khaled and Kahina on winning their award.
“Every year it’s a privilege to hear the inspiring stories of those within the fostering community. We are delighted to shine a light on these incredible people, celebrate their achievements and show our appreciation for them. Our winners and everyone else involved in foster care should be extremely proud of themselves.
“Their contribution makes a vital difference to the lives of children and young people, and they are the bedrock of children’s social care. Thank you for all that you do.”
Find out more about becoming a foster carer in Enfield or call 020 8379 2831 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture: Khaled Ounoughi and Kahina Hayouna-Ounoughi receive their prestigious Outstanding Contribution by a Foster Carer Award, at The Fostering Network’s annual award ceremony at Birmingham’s Repertory Theatre.
The Fostering Network is the UK’s leading fostering charity. They are the essential network for fostering, bringing together everyone who is involved in the lives of children in foster care.