Diagrama Foundation has forged a new partnership to tackle the shortage of adopters and foster carers who can provide vulnerable children in care with a safe and secure home of their own. Diagrama’s adoption and fostering service has been working with the Diocese of Rochester and Home for Good to develop a new initiative to encourage more people to consider adoption and fostering across Kent and Medway.
The initiative, which will involve holding a series of adoption and fostering information events within church communities across the Diocese, is supported by the Right Reverend James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, who 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.”
The year-long campaign will span the Diocese of Rochester across Kent, Medway and parts of Bromley and Bexley, with activities and events to inspire and inform individuals about fostering and adoption. Churches across the diocese are 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.
Home for Good is a Christian charity which works with churches specifically to promote adoption and fostering and find a home for every child that needs one. Krish Kandiah, Founder and Director of Home for Good, who is also a foster carer and adopter himself, said: “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.”
Diagrama has funded the project after Government figures revealed more than half of approved adopters came from within the Christian community. Nathan Ward, Head of Children’s Services at Diagrama Foundation, 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.”
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. It will culminate in a celebration of fostering and adoption to be supported by the Bishop of Rochester in Rochester Cathedral in March 2018.
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. Latest adoption figures show that an average of 840 children are entering the system each quarter compared to 460 adopters and that harder to place children are waiting up to 18 months 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.