Setting the Lonely in Families
From the opening chapters of scripture, where committed intimate human relationships are created to prevent us from being alone, to the great narratives that span the complexities of families through generations, to our final adoption into God’s global family – there is a clear Biblical mandate for family.
Psalm 68 tells us that ‘God sets the lonely in families’. We see this illustrated in the stories of Pharaoh’s daughter rescuing the Hebrew child Moses; Mordecai raising his niece Esther in a foreign land; Naomi and Ruth becoming family across the ethnic divide and David adopting the disabled son of his best friend after war took his life. The power of being set in a family is not to be under-estimated.
Home for Good remains dedicated to promoting this Biblical principle of family-based care and it continues to be a privilege to encourage Christians to include people who have no family into our families, and a joy to see children finding their home for good with a loving and committed family.
Setting the lonely in families can be our mission too as we seek to emulate the heart of our Father God, not just mirrored in our own homes, but facilitated even in the wake of genocide, poverty and war all around the world as we advocate for this as part of our global mission.
- Krish Kandiah
40,000 children and young people will enter the UK care system this year. Many will have suffered neglect or abuse; all will experience the trauma of loss and separation. Fostering services need to recruit at least 8,100 new carers this year to ensure that every child has the right home in the right place at the right time, where their needs can be met and they are enabled to thrive.
Some children will go on to be placed for adoption, and according to the most recent figures, there are more than 3,000 children waiting for an adoptive family. 39% of these children have already been waiting for more than 18 months, and many will have additional or complex needs. It is now estimated that 50% of the prison population are care experienced, and at least 25% of the homeless population. Nearly 40% of care leavers aged 19-21 are not in education, employment or training, compared to just 12% across the rest of the population, and in some areas, up to 70% of sex workers are young women who have left care. This is a big problem.
Which is why our vision is also big: a home for EVERY child who needs one. And not just any home – a great one.
Our vision is – a home for every child who needs one. When Home for Good launched as a charity in 2014, there were 9,000 foster carers urgently needed and approximately 6,000 children waiting to be adopted – and approximately 15,000 evangelical churches in the UK! Therefore, if one family in each of these churches stepped up to foster or adopt, there would be no children waiting for a home; but, it’s not just about the families stepping up to foster or adopt. It’s also about the rest of the church wrapping around and supporting these families.
A strategic framework below has been developed built upon the foundations of our work over the past three years, and developed through our learning and increased understanding of our network, the sector and the current socio-political landscape, we believe that this framework will bring about real change.”
We make sure that vulnerable children, fostering and adoption are on the agenda of the Church in the UK.
The foundation to all we do is the belief that God cares for vulnerable children and calls His followers to do the same. We are committed to enable Christians to better understand God’s heart for the vulnerable, because we have seen that for so many this will inspire them to take action - whether that’s to become a foster carer (finding homes), support an adoptive family they know (supporting families) or use their voice to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children (political advocacy).
Having recognised that it is through Mother’s Day and Father’s Day that we tend to engage with new churches, we directed significant resources into these opportunities. For Father’s Day, we teamed up with Christian Vision for Men (CVM) to develop resources based on ‘Not on my watch', including church-facing films, sermon outlines and prayers, and additional films for social media.
We create pathways that help people make the journey from inspiration to placement.
Research commissioned by the Department for Education in 2013 revealed that 6,300,000 people (in England) said they would consider fostering and/or adopting at some point in the future. Given that we know there are currently 43,500 fostering households in England and last year 4,350 children were adopted, we can see that very few of those people ever go onto actually welcome a vulnerable child into their family. Therefore, we recognise that simply inspiring people to foster or adopt through our spiritual pacesetting activities is not enough. We need to also equip people so that more individuals will go from being inspired to taking action.
We inspire and equip churches to support families that foster or adopt, and are a catalyst for establishing peer-to-peer support groups.
We believe that churches are not just a great place to inspire people to consider fostering or adoption– but that they can also be a fantastic supportive community for looked after children, foster carers and adoptive families. Therefore, we are passionate about equipping churches and individuals to offer great support to those who care for vulnerable children. Our range of support activities has been carefully developed to meet the specific needs that we see. However, it is important to note that the simple act of inspiring people to support families through telling stories of good practice is a key part of what we do.
We make a positive difference to policies that impact looked after and adopted children and those who care for them.
Our work to inspire and equip people to welcome vulnerable children into their homes and support families gives us insight and credibility to speak into the political arena. As we establish ourselves as a well-connected, credible and reliable partner we can significantly increase the number of homes found and ensure more families receive more support. To bring about change, we work with three ‘levers’: (academic) research, media engagement and political engagement.
We believe that our strategic framework will become a virtuous cycle, which enables us to increasingly gather momentum and bring about more impact.