Turkey's Changemakers: My Foster Family
The Sabancı Foundation’s Turkey’s Changemakers Program continues in its 6th season to share the unique stories of extraordinary people who have made a contribution to social development. The 13th Changemaker of the 6th season is Ayfer Doğan.
Doğan is the Denizli Foster Care Association founder and chairperson and has worked in the area of foster care for 17 years. Doğan, who has two biological sons, is also the foster parent of four children. As the founder and chairperson of the Denizli Foster Care Association, Doğan works to grow the foster care model throughout the country. She levels up her work on a national and international scale through the Foster Care Association.
In developed countries, 85 percent of children under government care live with foster parents. This ratio is only 30 percent in Turkey. Although foster parenting is not well-known in Turkey, there are people working to increase the number of foster parents in the country. Many projects have been undertaken to present foster care and increase the number of foster parents. More than 10 thousand people were reached with the projects “One Child, One Smile” and “I am not Afraid of the Dark Anymore.” The association organized a national foster care conference, where the problems of and solution proposals for the foster care system were discussed. The association contributed to improving the quality of foster care practices in Turkey through the “Each Child has the Right to Grow in a Loving and Caring Family” project. Under Doğan’s leadership, the association contributes to the system together with 78 families, who are also members of the association.
Doğan has gathered foster parents like herself under a single roof. She led the organization of training programs and seminars. She taught other people what it meant to become a foster parent through the conferences and seminars organized all around Turkey. She informed tens of families so that they could participate in the foster care system. She also organized many other projects for the improvement of the system. She has made a big difference in the lives of foster parents, as well as the lives of children who live with foster families.