A city in darkness: vulnerable families, poverty, young people not in education, employment or training, children repeatedly going missing from their foster homes, high offending rates, unmet health needs, placement breakdown, child sexual exploitation, mothers choosing to terminate their baby rather than have them taken into care, high turnover of social workers, extreme case loads, difficulties in recruiting and retaining foster carers, and low educational attainment. We have met carers and parents who feel isolated, teachers desperate for information and training, children with anger issues, and stressed social workers. This is the reality of Leicester; issues that are on every agenda of the local authority’s high level Corporate Parenting board.
We clearly see the need, but we have a vision. A vision of Leicester being a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden, bathed in light.
What a difference it could make if there were enough people willing to step forward and offer stable and loving homes for these vulnerable children; if carers had a well-connected support network; if social workers could refer difficult cases for therapeutic intervention and there were enough therapists to go round; if every child could have a mentor to steer them through the teenage years; if employers were equipped and inspired to offer work to care-leavers; if teachers were fully trained to understand and meet the needs of looked after children in their classroom, and many other things. All motivated by love and compassion and underpinned by the gospel – pointing people to Christ, the only person truly able to meet our needs. We have a vision. And we are daring to dream big.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3 v20
We are a local movement of Home for Good, supported by Knighton Free Church.
Jason and Debbie have been foster carers since 2012 and attend Knighton Free Church. Debbie runs Leicester City Council’s foster carers support group and a weekly nurture club. She volunteers for an arts organisation that uses music to help looked after children recover from trauma, and sits on Leicester City Council’s Corporate Parenting Forum. Jason works in the Council's capital projects team, and is a part-qualified youth worker.
Chris and his wife Meng adopted their son two and a half years ago as a result of their work in a Chinese orphanage, watching the television programme '15,000 and counting' and God's prompting to adopt locally. They are passionate about seeing every child in a loving, caring home where they can thrive. As a result of their adoption several of their friends from their old church in Greenwich have also been approved to adopt or foster.
Heather and her partner Sam have a birth son and one adopted daughter who has additional needs. They attend Holy Trinity Church. Heather runs a support group for adoptive families that meet regularly at Holy Trinity and she is a school governor for Overdale Infant School. She has just started a master’s degree in Corporate Social Responsibility and hopes to use Home for Good Leicester as her dissertation project!
Rachel has had a passion for fostering and adoption for a long time. She has worked as a social worker in the past and now works in a role supporting children. She is excited to see how the work of Home for Good will grow amongst Leicester churches and how it will develop links to the local adoption and fostering provision. Rachel and her husband Vinny attend Kings Church, where Vinny sits on the eldership. Together, they oversee the children’s work at Kings Church.
Lynn is a paediatrician and is married to the Bishop of Leicester, the Right Reverend Martyn Snow. Lynn is the designated doctor for looked after children in Leicester and has a wealth of experience of working with children. She sits on Leicester City Council’s Corporate Parenting Forum.
Cheryl and her husband are newly-approved foster carers, and have two birth children of their own. They attend Avenue Church.
Alison is also a newly approved foster carer, having left her previous career as a SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) for a local primary school. She attends Kings Church.