Bishop backs fostering and adoption drive to find homes for vulnerable children

The Right Reverend James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester is calling for more people to consider fostering and adoption in a bid to find a home for every vulnerable child as part of a new initiative.

The Diocese of Rochester has joined forces with charities Home for Good and Diagrama Foundation to find more foster carers and adopters to care for children who wait the longest to be placed in families.

The first Medway information event will be held on Tuesday July 18 at St Justus Church, Fairway in Rochester at 7.30pm. This is one of a series of events to be held throughout the year-long campaign which will span the Diocese of Rochester across Kent, Medway and parts of Bromley and Bexley, inspiring and informing individuals about fostering and adoption.

Home for Good is a national charity which exists to find a home for every child who needs one in the UK by motivating individuals from within the Christian community to step forward to foster or adopt. The Diagrama Foundation, a secular charity based in Chatham, Kent, has a charitable fostering and adoption agency covering the South East of England. Both charities focus on finding families for children who are deemed ‘harder to place’.

Churches across the region are also being asked to take part in Home for Good’s Adoption Sunday in November, focusing on how churches and individuals can make a difference for children in care. The campaign will see church leaders gain a greater understanding of fostering and adoption, and how to better support those who welcome vulnerable children into their homes.

The campaign will culminate in a celebration of foster carers and adopters to be hosted by the Bishop of Rochester in Rochester Cathedral in March 2018.

Bishop James said: “Children in care are some of the most vulnerable in our society in need of safe and secure homes. It is only right that as a Church we do all we can to ensure that there are people ready and willing to open their homes to these children. We want the Diocese of Rochester to be known as a place with the highest levels of care for vulnerable children.”

Nathan Ward, Head of Professional Standards at Diagrama Foundation, and curate in the parish of Holy Trinity South, Chatham, said: “Every week we receive dozens of referrals for children in desperate need of a home in which they can feel safe and cared for. Sadly, we are unable to respond to many of these due to the shortage of foster carers and adopters. We look forward to working with the Diocese and Home for Good to help encourage more people to get involved and make a real difference to a child’s life.”

Krish Kandiah, Founder and Director of Home for Good, who is also a foster carer and adopter himself, comments, “At the heart of fostering and adoption is a radical hospitality that puts the needs of the vulnerable above our own. If just one household from every church were to step forward to foster or adopt a child who is considered harder to place, then no child would have to wait for a family willing and able to care for them.

Nationally, there is a need for over 9,070 new foster carers in the UK in 2017-18, with 1,100 carers needed in the South East and 1,150 in London, according to the Fostering Network. Carers are especially needed for children over the age of 10, in sibling groups of three or more, and children with additional needs.

Adoption figures show that there has been a decrease in the number of children waiting for adoption in recent years, down from over 4,230 (June 2014)  to around 2,000 (June 2016) . However, the number of ‘hard to place’ children remains at 73% of children waiting for the right adoptive match.

Children considered ‘hard to place’ for adoption are those who are five years of age or older, are part of a sibling group, are from black and minority ethnic groups, or have additional needs. There are 40 hard to place children currently awaiting a home in Kent and Medway.

If you’d like to find out more about fostering and adoption and the support that Home for Good and Diagrama can offer, or would like to attend Tuesday’s event get in touch with Billy-Jo O’Leary,  on 07749555537 or email Billyjo.oleary@homeforgood.org.uk

 




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