In March this year, as the country went into lockdown, Home for Good received a call from the fostering team at Bristol City Council concerned that many of their foster carers were over 65 and may need to isolate to protect their health. The request was simple: would members of the Christian community in Bristol step in to become temporary foster carers so we could keep children in the city safe?

Home for Good, in partnership with Christian Action Bristol, immediately launched a campaign to share this need widely through church networks, creating video appeal content and easy routes to sign up for more information. They convened weekly fostering information sessions on Zoom, along with briefing sessions for church leaders from across the city. The aim was to send people to begin assessment who were already well informed, well prepared, well supported and likely to stay the course through the assessment process.

The church response in Bristol has been astounding. Between March and June over 60 Christian households explored fostering and 17 began assessment. Christians made up nearly 50% of the total in assessment and those who came from the Home for Good route were two and a half times more likely to translate their initial interest into a firm application to begin assessment. Over the early part of the summer 11 of these households completed training and we saw children as young as 10 months and as old as 15 years welcomed into homes of safety and security where they were loved. 

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Home for Good wanted to ensure that people who began a fostering journey during a crisis were well supported and established weekly zoom peer support groups led by one of their volunteer Champions’. These spaces ensured that those stepping up to care in the strangest of circumstances had access to peer support, encouragement, and could support one another with prayer.

Bristol’s Church engagement with the local authority’s plea for help with recruitment of foster carers has paved the way for local authorities all over the country to work with Home for Good and inspired churches to share the need for foster carers. This is a really significant time where local authorities have seen that Christians have responded to need, where partnership between local government and faith communities has enabled the most vulnerable to be protected. It’s been a vital moment for the church to practically and sacrificially demonstrate what Jesus’ love really looks like.

The need for new foster carers across the UK is as great as ever. In September 2020, care applications were at their highest for the last four years and we anticipate this rise to be sustained for some considerable time. If you think you could help, then Home for Good would love to hear from you.