There are so many heart-breaking statistics it makes it hard to know where to start.
There are increasing numbers of children coming into care, yet there is a huge shortage of foster carers. Young people leaving care are seven times more likely to die when they are aged 18 to 21 than other young people. 90,000 unaccompanied child refugees applied for asylum in Europe in 2016, and yet our government have announced the closure of the Dubs scheme after the UK has welcomed only 350. Thousands of children are waiting to be adopted, yet parents are not being given the support they need to be able to care for the most vulnerable.
Home for Good wants to make a difference to these statistics and we think you probably feel the same, so here are five suggestions from five of the Home for Good team for things you can do right now.
Kirsty, head of engagement
“You can pray. Even if you can’t do anything else, you can always pray. Find out how many children are in care in your local area, and pray specifically for those children to find the permanence they need – use these links to find your area of England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Pray for social workers, pray for birth families, pray for foster carers and adoptive parents, pray for the government, family court judges, teachers, therapists, contact workers… but most of all, pray for the children. Pray with faith and hope that we would see these statistics change.”
James, business development manager (and foster carer)
“Do something to support foster and adoptive families in your church or community. Surprise them with acts of kindness. When you’re caring for looked after children you don’t always have the mental space to organise getting support, so make it easy for carers. Let them know they’re noticed and appreciated. Always ask if it’s appropriate, but if you can, get to know their kids, whether birth children, fostered and/or adopted. If you have kids, invite theirs over for a play-date. If not, go out of your way to occupy their children so carers can have a coffee and chat and actually relax. It will mean the world to them.”
Kathryn, project manager
“We would love you to get more involved with Home for Good! Browse our website and sign up to our mailing list. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Give to us, just once or regularly, and join our campaign to cover a mile for every child in 2017. Become a champion for Home for Good in your church and be right at the heart of what we’re doing – we would resource, connect and support you to spread the word, share the vision and effect change in your church and community. Please stand with us, you could make such a difference.”
Mark, project manager: unaccompanied minors
“Right now, we need church leaders to add their voice to our statement, asking the government to do more for unaccompanied refugee children, so ask your church leader to sign up. You could also challenge your own MP about this – by letter is great, but going along to one of their surgeries and actually talking to them would be amazing. Make sure they know that someone in their constituency cares about the thousands of child refugees in Europe.”
Amy, writer/editor (and adoptive mum)
“Have a think. Have a really long and contemplative think that maybe lasts a few years, about what your family could look like. All too often we just do the things that everyone else does and that’s great, but what if there’s more for you, something different for your family? People foster or adopt in their 20s and 30s, before or after they’ve had birth children, when they’re single, when they’re working and when they’re not. There’s no rule that says you have to do life and family a certain way or in a certain order, so maybe your way will look different to your friends. Fostering or adoption is never an easy option – it’s relentlessly hard and it absolutely hurts at times – but, oh my word, it matters. It really, really matters. Please think about it if you can.”