Every day more than 50 children need to be taken into care in the UK.
They are likely to have come from chaotic, neglectful, abusive or desperate situations and will have suffered trauma. Some will need a home for a few nights, some for a few years, and some will need a permanent home for good.
In Oxfordshire, there are over 500 children in care and that number has increased steadily over the last couple of years. The County Council also has a significant amount of asylum-seeking children who arrive on their own at one of the service stations on the M40.
In this county, the national charity Home for Good has been partnering the local authority to help find foster carers. It is now working alongside local churches and charities in Viva’s new growing network, Doorsteps, to champion the cause of every child in the care system in the area.
Home for Good believes that the Church is ideally placed to profile the needs of vulnerable children, to encourage people to consider fostering, and to support families who are caring for these children. Church communities can be an essential support network for foster carers.
One foster carer, David, commented: “My wife and I aim to provide a safe, stable and loving home for children at a time where their family cannot do that, for whatever reason.
“The role can bring great rewards as well as challenges and it is very important to have the support of people, particularly professionals like social workers, and our wider social network.
David and his wife is supported by friends, neighbours and their local church. They are part of the local Home for Good network, made up of around 20-30 people including foster carers, adoptive parents and others.
Home for Good’s vision is a home for every child who needs one. It does that by working with groups of churches and local authorities throughout the UK, running localised campaigns, like the one in Oxfordshire, to encourage people to become foster carers and adoptive parents.
At the heart of Home for Good is a growing network of champions, who are equipped to raise the profile of fostering and adoption in their communities, and offer peer support.
It works with churches across Oxfordshire, leading campaigns and producing inspirational resources around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Adoption Sunday, which takes place on 6 November.
If you would like to find out more about Home for Good’s work in Oxfordshire, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit homeforgood.org.uk
Rupert Garnett is Home for Good’s South East Regional Manager