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10 April 2013

Too many children waiting for a home for good

Too many children waiting for a home for good

Thousands of children in the UK are waiting for a home. Every day more than 50 children are taken into the care system and many are removed from chaotic, traumatic or desperate situations. Currently in the news and on the political agenda, the need for adoptive families ,foster carers or kinship carers (temporary care by extended family) is at a critical point.

More than 4,600 children are currently waiting for adoption into a family and another 9,000 are in transition and in need of foster placements.

The Home for Good campaign is raising awareness and encouraging the Church to respond. Spearheaded by Care for the Family, Churches Child Protection Advisory Service and the Evangelical Alliance, the initiative seeks to change the culture in local churches throughout the UK, to make adopting and fostering a significant part of their life and ministry.

This week, a new London ‘adoption map’ was published to give prospective parents in the capital more information about the process. When comparing waiting times in different boroughs, it claims that some children can potentially wait up to three years for a place in an adoptive family.

Children and families minister Edward Timpson said: “Too many children are waiting too long. I want to encourage everyone thinking about adoption to take the first steps towards offering a child the love and stability that they so desperately need.”

When churches in Southampton heard that the city council were facing budget cuts, they called a meeting for church and community leaders. A key issue facing the city was highlighted through a passionate plea from a councillor for more fostering and adoption from faith communities. In response they set themselves a target of finding 40 new foster placements and presented the fostering team with 40 keys, each key representing a home they plan to find for a vulnerable child.

Paul Woodman, leader of Southampton’s City Life Church, said: “This is an opportunity for churches to effectively engage with the council and make a positive impact in the city.” The Home for Good campaign hopes that many areas will follow Southampton’s example.

Krish Kandiah, the Alliance's executive director: churches in mission, who is heading up the Home for Good campaign, said: “It is time for the Church to be good news in society, change our communities and transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the UK. The organisations as part of Home for Good have contact with 15,000 churches in total. If we could get one family from each church to care for a child it would make a significant impact.”

This week at Spring Harvest – a popular Christian conference – Home for Good received a fantastic response. The Home for Good video was shown from the main stage, reaching more than 16,000 people over four weeks in two venues. Each reception event was filled with foster carers, kinship carers, adoptive parents who were excited to see the issue being championed and others who were keen to know more. There were stories of churches being incredibly supportive of adoptive families, but there was also a recognition that there is more to be done to help churches give unique support to parents caring for children with more complex needs.

Many caught the vision. One couple tweeted: “We attended the Home for Good seminar at Spring Harvest in Skegness and feel God calling us to look into adopting a child.”

More information
Government Department for Education - Adoption Maps and information
Southampton Churches story
Home for Good, visit www.homeforgood.org.uk