The new initiative has been developed by Care for the Family, CCPAS (The Churches’ Child Protection Advisory), and the Evangelical Alliance.
There are 4,000 children waiting to be adopted in the UK, and 8,000 more foster families are urgently needed.
Campaigners say the Church is uniquely placed to meet this need. As a large social network with large numbers of families, Christian communities are fertile soil for recruitment.
Krish Kandiah executive director: Churches in Mission and England director for the Evangelical Alliance, has fostered and adopted children with his wife, Miriam, and is a main spokesman for the initiative.
He told Christianity magazine, ‘This year, we will be doing everything we possibly can to raise awareness of the issues facing children in care, and encourage and equip churches to be proactive in responding to the problem. Once carers have been through the full process of assessment, the Church could provide an excellent community of support.
‘We will be talking about the issue at some of the largest Christian festivals and conferences, identifying and resourcing fostering and adoption “champions” ? passionate people with first-hand experience.’
Kandiah cited the story of an evangelical leader from Southampton who had been in foster care himself as a teenager.
‘It really came home that he was welcome when the family gave him a key to their house; that meant he really belonged. And after hearing about his experience, the churches in Southampton, through the Southampton Christian Network, have presented the head of fostering at the local authority with a canvas with 40 real keys on it. The text reads “We promise to find 40 families to step forward for fostering.”’
Campaigners are encouraging churches to get involved in three ways:
- Signing up to be part of national Adoption Sunday on 3rd November.
- Speaking to church members who have adopted and/or foster, and seeking ways to support them.
- Reading Home for Good by Krish Kandiah (homeforgood.org.uk)