Country Profile: United Kingdom
Total Population: 66 million
Total Children under the age of 18: 12 million
The situation of children in the United Kingdom
Estimated number of orphans: There are approximately 85,000 ‘looked after children in the UK – that is children that are in the care system. Many will have suffered neglect or abuse; all will experience the trauma of loss and separation.
Alternative care in the United Kingdom
- This year, approximately 40,000 children will enter the care system. A similar number will leave the system – either returning to live with their birth families, are adopted, or ‘age out’.
- 80% of the children in the care system live with foster carers.
- Last year 4,500 children were adopted and 4,000 had a special guardianship order. In this case, one or more individuals are appointed to be a child’s special guardian, without legal ending the relationship with the birth parents.
- It is estimated that more than 200,000 children are living within kinship carers – these are often informal arrangements and therefore many are not included in the above statistics.
- It is estimated that this year the UK needs 8,000 more foster carers, and there are currently 3,000 children waiting to be adopted – 40% wait for longer than 18 months.
Our vision is – a home for every child who needs one. When Home for Good launched as a charity in 2014, there were 9,000 foster carers urgently needed and approximately 6,000 children waiting to be adopted – and approximately 15,000 evangelical churches in the UK! Therefore, if one family in each of these churches stepped up to foster or adopt, there would be no children waiting for a home; but, it’s not just about the families stepping up to foster or adopt. It’s also about the rest of the church wrapping around and supporting these families.
Step 1: We INSPIRE people to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children. We do this through spiritual pacesetting as we put vulnerable children, fostering, and adoption on the agenda of the Church in the UK.
Step 2: We EQUIP people to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children. We do this in two ways. Firstly, through pre-placement support as we journey with people stepping up to provide a home for vulnerable children from inspiration to placement. And secondly, through post-placement support as we ensure adoptive parents and foster or kinships carers are well supported as they care for children – particularly through equipping churches to support them.
Step 3: As a result, we have the credibility to influence even greater CHANGE. We do this through systemic change as we bring about change to attitudes, policy, and practices that impact looked after and adopted children and the families who care for them.
Stories from the Country
ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP
This year in the United Kingdom we have seen the launch of an ‘All Party Parliamentary Group’ looking at adoption and permanence. Home for Good is providing the secretariat for the Group along with AdoptionUK. We have just finished our first inquiry into England’s Adoption Support Fund. We hope that the result of our efforts funding will be continued before 2020 and the fund will be improved.
THY KINGDOM COME GLOBAL PRAYER FOCUS
As part of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s global prayer focus, “Thy Kingdom Come”, our founding director, Krish Kandiah, was asked to make a short film (at the bottom of this page) that communicates how understanding our adoption in God’s family unlocks the mystery and meaning of The Lord’s Prayer.
FATHER GOD – 2019 FATHER’S DAY FILM
Home for Good produces resources that churches can use on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to put vulnerable children and the need for more foster carers and adoptive parents onto their agenda. Here’s the film called “Father God” produced for Father’s Day 2019:
Last year, Home for Good was invited by the ReThink Orphanages European Hub to take on the role of Faith Liaison in order to better understand the role of Christians in the UK supporting orphanages overseas, and then bring about behavior change. The Homecoming Project has now been launched to inspire and equip individual Christians and churches throughout the UK to promote family-based care for children around the world.