Home for Good magazine - Summer 2021

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Magazine Summer 2021

Inside this issue:

A home for every teen A 12 page special feature on the teenage care crisis


A JOY UNLIKE ANY OTHER, MEET ANDREW, OUR FUNDRAISING HEROES & MORE... Together we can find a home for every child who needs one

Dear friends... Through one of the darkest and most difficult years that many of us will ever experience, thank you for standing with Home for Good. Thank you for standing with vulnerable children. It has been said many times that while we are all in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. The challenges that this year has presented for some children and families have been starkly more harrowing than for others, and we know that children in and on the edge of care have experienced the brunt of this. We are now beginning to see the impact of this, with increased numbers of children coming into care and expectations within children’s services that these figures will continue to rise. Finding a home for every child who needs one has never been more vital. In the midst of this, there are particular groups of children for whom it is even more challenging. Home for Good has become increasingly aware and concerned of the unique and pressing needs facing teenagers in care, who are the largest and fastestgrowing cohort of children in the care system. We are using this special issue of the Home for Good magazine to focus on the needs of teenagers in care. There is a long way to go to ensure that every child has the home they need throughout their entire childhood, and we thank you for joining us in this journey and playing your part for vulnerable children. Together we will find a home for every child – and teenager – who needs one.

The Home for Good Team w: homeforgood.org.uk


t: 0300 001 0995

e: info@homeforgood.org.uk a: 8 Angel Court, Copthall Avenue, London, EC2R 7HP facebook.com/home4gd



Registered charity no. 1158707 (England and Wales) SC046972 (Scotland). A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales no. 9060425.


Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021

contents 04

Family news Celebrating stories from across the Home for Good network.


A joy unlike any other Donna shares her fostering story.

04 06 08

A HOME FOR EVERY TEEN: A 12 page special feature on the teenage care crisis


Our heart for teenagers Tarn reflects on her own story and why Home for Good cares so deeply for teens.


Glimmers of hope Dave shares his family story of welcoming in a teenage foster daughter.


Prioritising teenagers Why we are using our voice to speak up for teenagers in care.


Supporting teenagers to thrive Playing our part to nurture care experienced teenagers.


Lisa’s prayer A prayer for teenagers in care.


Our fundraising heroes Celebrating the incredible creativity of our supporters.


Meet Andrew Our new Director of Strategic Engagement shares his heart for the role.


A big THANK YOU to Eden.co.uk Marking a fantastic partnership with great friends.

12 14

A home foR every teen



Please note that names in our impact stories may have been changed and all photographs are representative.

Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021


Family News

Celebrating from across the Home for Good network In October 2020, Home for Good launched an Open Letter, calling on the Government to tackle the issue of racial disparity as part of the upcoming Care Review in England. We posted the letter in December, with the backing of 24,000 individuals and numerous organisations. In March 2021, the Chair announced that, as a result of our Open Letter, the review would specifically consider racial disparities within the system! Shortly after, we met with him to discuss how the review might do this. Thank you to everyone who added their support to the letter. Because of you, we are hopeful that steps will be taken to tackle this injustice and we will be closer to ensuring that no child is left behind because of the colour of their skin.

in 2020, our enquiry team journeyed with

our christmas film for 2020 was viewed by more than

More churches engaged with Mother's Day 2021 than ever before with

users on facebook

signing up to use our resources

1,635 13,200 596

people as they explored fostering or adoption more than ever before! 04

Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021

Roger, a Home for Good Champion, wrote and recorded a heartfelt and inspiring prayer video for churches to use across Northern Ireland, featuring Champions, church leaders and supporters from across Northern Ireland – it’s fantastic!

In 2020, as with so many things, the Home for Good annual Summit shifted online! 1,469 adults registered to take part, representing almost 800 churches, as we ‘imagined together’ for vulnerable children. Not wanting to leave out the children and young people who are such an integral part of the Summit, we created activity packs for them with our friends at YFC and sent out 400 to children throughout the UK – and it was so popular we created a digital version, which was accessed by 409 families!

Roger explains, “As a Home for Good Champion, I long to see more and more churches develop a prayerful and active concern for vulnerable children and those who care for them. I hope that this prayer video is a great resource for churches, as well as a celebration of the growing Home for Good family here in Northern Ireland.” Watch and download the prayer at homeforgood.org.uk/ni-prayer

'He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…' Ephesians 3:20

Home for Good is delighted to have signed the Global Church Pledge, as we wholeheartedly believe that children should grow up in safe and loving families. Get involved in this growing global movement and sign the pledge at globalchurchpledge.org Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021


My husband and I have talked about fostering for a long time, but doing the Foundations course with Home for Good really cemented for us that this was something our family could do, so we started filling in the paperwork!


Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021

ess than a month after we were approved, we received a phone call about two-year-old twins who needed a home. They came from a family of six, and sadly each of the children were being placed in different foster homes. Knowing these siblings were being separated broke our hearts, and we wanted to do whatever we could to ensure that at the very least these twins could stay together. We had four hours to prepare for them coming, and because we really didn’t know very much at all about the children, those were a frantic four hours! We have countless fond memories from the few months the twins were with us. They celebrated their birthday with us, and Christmas too – it was the best Christmas ever for our family. The twins were so excited, our birth children were so excited, and the grown-ups might have been more excited than any of them! One of the twins really struggled with bedtime. We tried everything we could to help her settle, but as soon as the pyjamas came out of the drawer, the tears would start. She loved singing, so we started singing at bedtime – I’m not a brilliant singer, but somehow the singing made it a bit easier. Their favourite song was Jesus Loves Me and they would sing along with all their little hearts every single night. We have good friends nearby who also foster, and we realised that the twins’

older brother had been placed with them. In a way that only felt possible because of God’s hand at work, we were able to meet up regularly to allow the kids to stay connected. We’d meet in the park, even when it was bucketing down with rain. It was such a privilege to be able to help nurture their relationship. Since being part of Foundations we’ve remained connected with Home for Good and the support from this network has meant so much to us. Being in lockdown it was really valuable to have contact with the team here in Northern Ireland, and to be connected with Champions for support and prayer. Our wider church family has been amazing too; some families brought us meals, and this was the most helpful thing they could have done for us. A wee text to ask what you can pray for or dropping round a lasagne – these things might seem small, but they really were the things that would make our day. Fostering these little ones has certainly had its challenges, and at times has been exhausting, but it’s brought a joy to our home unlike any other. The joy of seeing them feeling safe and content; helping them meet some milestones; watching them experience something like going to the beach for the first time in their lives – this joy absolutely outweighs any challenge or hard day we’ve had. Donna, foster carer

Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021





Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021

Teenagers are the fastest-growing and largest cohort of children in the care system. Almost twothirds of children in care in England are over the age of 10, with a quarter aged 16 or over. They must be prioritised to ensure they have the homes they need. Home for Good is passionate about finding a home for every child, at every age, as Tarn explains. ome for Good’s mission to find a home for every child who needs one is our unswerving task at hand and we are deeply committed to its fulfilment. In all my listening of the past six months, something clear has been heard: teenagers need our collective help, support and love. Local authorities are desperately seeking the right homes for older vulnerable children. At present, all too often the only options for teenagers are unregulated placements in unsuitable accommodation such as B&B’s, caravan parks or ‘Houses of Multiple Occupancy’. The very challenges teenagers face at this critical age – complex relationships, peer pressure, feelings of fear, inadequacy and isolation – are compounded by a lack of support, the

absence of a unit to belong to, and the gnawingly empty space where sage, kind words should be. I was this teenager. Totally lost. My nuclear family life imploded when I was just 15, largely through my own doing and poor choices but compounded by years of feeling misunderstood by my own biological family. This resulted in me sofa-surfing, attempting short term tenancies that I failed abysmally at maintaining, and an ever growing pervading sense of failure, with more poor choices as a result. My story isn’t uncommon. I ended up on the edge of the sex industry, unsure of my value, unable to see my worth and in a never ending cycle of destructive relationships, debt and doubt. I did make my way out, slowly and eventually, but the damage felt marked.

Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021


A home foR every teen

"IT WAS AN ADVENTURE, BUT THE CHALLENGES WERE NOT INSIGNIFICANT IN BRINGING YOUNG PEOPLE INTO OUR HOME WHO EXHIBITED ALL THE OBVIOUS AND UNDERSTANDABLE BEHAVIOURS OF SCARED AND TRAUMATISED CHILDREN." I went on to be a Supported Lodgings host in my thirties, with some dear friends. It was an adventure, but the challenges were not insignificant in bringing young people into our home who exhibited all the obvious and understandable behaviours of scared and traumatised children. But it was arguably one of the most profound, rewarding seasons of my life. It stretched us all. We laughed, we sobbed, we celebrated the wins when a young person ‘settled’ and came alive in themselves. But in equal measure we grieved for those young people we just couldn’t ‘reach’. For some, the consistency of house rules and curfews was a step too far for them and they re-entered the Tardis of the unforgiving big world out there. I believe we have an opportunity to reimagine what caring for teenagers could look like. Home for Good is exploring


how we can enable teenagers to thrive through one radically committed household embracing them and providing a place at their table and a room to call their own. Supported Lodgings could be the answer here, where the Church at large could respond, hand in hand and parallel with fostering and adoption. The scripture we hold up as a motivating source is Psalm 68:6, which the Amplified Bible translates as ‘God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell’. What a promise. Let’s be God’s hands and feet together, bringing this into reality for the thousands of young people who have fallen through the cracks, who feel beyond reach and doubt they will belong anywhere ever again.


Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021



remember the first day she stepped through our door. She seemed so small – not just physically, but in every sense. She had her head down and wouldn’t look up for either of us, but when she spotted our birth children aged two and four, she immediately went to them. It made a lot of sense. Kids aren’t going to fill in forms or arrange a meeting. They just did what kids do. They played beautifully together, and we watched her slip into ‘this is a space where I feel okay.’ She didn’t move in immediately, it was an intentionally slow process. We wanted to make sure this was right for her. About a month after that first introduction, we moved her stuff into our home and created a space that was ‘hers’. You hear a lot about the importance of having a spare room when it comes to fostering or adoption. It’s necessary because that child or young person needs and deserves their space and privacy, but we felt it was more than that for her – we wanted her to have her own little embassy, somewhere she could be totally at home and at ease, somewhere that could represent who she was, somewhere she could just be. So we kitted out that bedroom for her as best we could, made sure she had everything she needed and had space for all her things. She loved that room. Let’s call a spade a spade: teenage years are tricky. You explore almost everything during those years. So they can be extra hard for a young person who

Our first long-term foster child was a girl on the cusp of her teenage years. She was 11 when she came to us, and we were her fourth placement. perhaps already has questions about their identity and where they fit in the world, who is carrying a hard story, who doesn’t know what will happen when they turn 18. It can be really difficult to live with foster carers who claim to love and accept you, but your past experience is a loud voice telling you that ‘you know they will give up on you at some point.’ As foster carers we try to counteract that voice and seek to speak louder. “We are here. We are going to journey with you, and no matter what, we believe in you.” Young people in care need someone who will love them, who will champion them, who will stick with them. They need someone who will go to the school thing and cheer at the back way too loud! They need someone who will be proud of them. It’s a privilege to do this as foster carers. Teenage years are difficult years, but those years have brought us moments of real joy too. When you see them take a tiny step closer to feeling safe. When they smile. When you see them realise, ‘That thing I did today mattered’. These are the things that are so rich in their win, so rich in their reward. We can often take these moments for granted, but they are just the most beautiful, often fragile, glimmers of hope. I think that’s the real economy of the kingdom, it’s those moments, those stories, those glimmers. And it’s what every teenager deserves. Dave Kingswood Local Movement Lead, Home for Good: Bath Area Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021



TEENAGERS When we think of children in care, I’m sure many of us imagine toddlers and babies, or perhaps a child in primary school. But the true reality is that teenagers make up the fastest-growing and largest cohort of children in the care system. 63% of children in care in England are over the age of 10, with a quarter aged 16 or over.

"At the heart of all this is young people. Children. Vulnerable but brilliant, complex but brimming with value and potential, the majority of whom have experienced abuse or neglect in their lifetime." 12

Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021

hile every teenager has challenges to navigate around school, friendships and finding their place in the world, young people in care are facing so much more. Teenagers in care are most likely to experience instability, being 80% more likely than the national average to have two or more changes of home in a year. Yet there is increasing evidence that our care system has not adjusted well to meet the needs of this significant cohort. Our Five Star campaign, along with systematic media coverage over the past two years, has highlighted that young people are regularly being placed in inappropriate accommodation, including caravans, tents and canal boats. A report in 2019 found that 12,800 children in England had spent time in an unregulated placement, equating to 1 in 8 children in care. Story after story is emerging of individual cases where young people have been left to fend for themselves, hugely vulnerable to exploitation. We recognise that social workers responsible for these young people do not want to place them in unsuitable accommodation but are often left with no choice. Such impossible situations are indicative of a system with a crisis in options for teenagers.

We use our voice and opportunities to advocate for every child in care to thrive. Too often the goal of the care system for young people is ‘independence’ and this is measured by enabling young people to reach the age of 18 or 21 ‘successfully’. We want to see a shift away from the ‘independence’ mindset and focus instead on how young people are set up for life, ensuring there is a strong network around them to stick by them and champion them at every stage. At the heart of all this is young people. Children. Vulnerable but brilliant, complex but brimming with value and potential, the majority of whom have experienced abuse or neglect in their lifetime. Teenagers who need love, acceptance, patience and encouragement. They need families who will commit to them and offer them the security they need, so they can fulfil their potential. We don’t want them to be lone rangers, but rather be embedded in a supportive community where they feel they belong, and they are able to contribute. We believe the Church is perfectly placed to make this a reality. Natalie Mills, Advocacy Manager

At Home for Good, we are passionate about advocacy for the most vulnerable.



Every child who is or was in care carries a complex story and traumatic experiences. How do we help them feel safe and settled, and enable them to thrive? Caring for teenagers in this space isn’t easy. Whether it is through short or long-term fostering, fostering an unaccompanied asylumseeking child, or parenting an adopted teen, we stand with all parents and carers who are playing their part in supporting teenagers to thrive.


Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021

We knew teenagers wait the longest to find families that are right for them and many aren’t given the chance to be cared for within a family setting, so we wanted to step into that space and be available. We fostered a teenage boy from aged 15 and he left just before his 18th birthday. We now foster a sibling group, and the eldest is in his teens. But we have kept in touch with our first fostered teen and continue to support him even though he has left care. We see him regularly and will often advocate on his behalf when issues arise with his housing or with other challenges. Sarah, foster carer

We fostered a 16 year old for a few months last year, and it was a real privilege to be able to provide a place of safety for her while she needed it. I love that we still catch up on a regular basis just recently we had a video call, she told us about her new job and showed off her new uniform! She’ll always be part of our lives and we’re always here when she needs us. Judith, short-term and emergency foster carer Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021


"There's plenty of laughter in our home and some tears too but it would feel abnormal now not to be laying a place for a young refugee at our dining table and we have no regrets."

We have cared for 12 teenage refugees over the past five years, all of whom arrived alone in the UK seeking asylum. Each one has experienced significant trauma, both in their home country and during their journey to the UK. They have suffered much loss and their stories are harrowing. It is genuinely a privilege to be able to open our home, care for them and help them get going on their education. We can't take away their hurt and pain but it’s wonderful to see good things happening in their lives whether it’s getting into the school football team, gaining a GCSE when they couldn't speak English two years ago or passing their driving test. There's plenty of laughter in our home and some tears too but it would feel abnormal now not to be laying a place for a young refugee at our dining table and we have no regrets. It’s just sad that so many people are missing out on doing this! Rachel and Nigel, foster carers for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children


Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021

"Parenting through adolescence is not for the faint hearted; we’ve unearthed more pain, questions and challenges than ever before."

I’ve been Mum to beautiful daughters for well over a decade now, since they came home aged one and two. There were many years of make believe and play parks, but less of that now as we’re well into the teenage years. I am met with expert eye rolls and complaints of tired limbs when I suggest a trip out. We used to take snacks as an encouragement to get back in the car, now we take coffee as an incentive to come out. Adolescence is a huge transition; the journey to adulthood is full of potential and change for everyone. And parenting through adolescence is not for the faint hearted; we’ve unearthed more pain, questions and challenges than ever before. But it’s also a period which offers great opportunity; the brain is changing almost as much as it did in those vital early years, giving a window of opportunity to strengthen good foundations and re-lay new ones. In amongst the challenge, which is sometimes considerable, we get to demonstrate the love of God through our consistent presence, as well as with our words, as we journey alongside our teenagers. Claire, adoptive mum

Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021


A PRAYER for teenagers Lisa, now in her twenties, is Dave's foster daughter shared in the story on page 11. Although she has moved into her own home, Lisa still sees Dave and his wife and children as her family, and their church as her own loving community. She’s written a prayer for teenagers in care and those with care experience. Join with Lisa and Home for Good as we pray for teenagers across the UK.


Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021

God places the solitary in families & gives the desolate a home in which to dwell. Psalm 68:6, Amplified Bible

Home for Good is committed to doing more to find suitable homes and care options for teenagers in the UK and advocating on their behalf. We continue to learn and grow in this space and will be prioritising the care of teenagers over the coming years at Home for Good. To keep updated, sign up to our mailing list at homeforgood.org.uk/sign-up and follow our dedicated webpage at homeforgood.org.uk/teenagers

Together we will find a home for every child who needs one – including those in their teenage years. Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021


Our fundraising heroes A big thank you to every single one!

As a charity we rely on donations that help us to find a home for every child that needs one. We are so grateful to all of you who give so generously, and we have been blown away by some of the amazing and creative ways you have raised money and awareness this year, when restrictions have meant some activities weren’t possible. Meet some of our amazing Fundraising Heroes!

Mary took on the challenge of doing 3000 burpees in a month. She completed her challenge and SMASHED her target, raising £1,420 to help find a home for every child who needs one! Thank you Mary – we think you are amazing!

Fraser, aged 9, wanted to make a difference after learning that there are unaccompanied asylum seeking children entering the UK who need somewhere to call home. He wanted to launch a project called ‘every child deserves a home’, so Fraser and his mum Joy made and sold Christmas decorations, and raised £100 for Home for Good. We think your project sounds amazing Fraser. Thank you for your hard work making your beautiful decorations!

Huge thanks to Just Love St Andrews for hosting an online Promise Auction to raise money for Home for Good. There were an incredible array of promises to bid on, including homemade flapjacks, a virtual singing lesson, a game of frisbee golf and even a promise to play a prank on your behalf, and together the team raised an astounding £1,312! Thank you!

We love hearing about your creative and impressive fundraising activities – and we are so thankful to have so many amazing supporters playing their part to find a home for every child who needs one!


Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021


Lydia, Johanna, Camille, Chloe, Sofia, Nestor, Nahla, Izzy and Aiden put on an online performance of Hansel and Gretel for their parents, friends and neighbours.

We are so thankful for the support of Blagdon Baptist Church, who organised a beautiful Advent Window Trail in December. As well as providing some festive fun for their community, they raised £749.79 for Home for Good!

Together they raised £202 for Home for Good! Thank you!

WE WANT TO PUT THE FUN IN FUNDRAISING! We’ve been so inspired by our amazing fundraising heroes and their fantastic creativity. As the sun begins to shine and, hopefully, we begin to face less restrictions, it’s the perfect time to take part in a fundraiser! Perhaps a BBQ with friends, a treasure hunt, a water fight, or an open garden event – you could invite a small donation or hold a raffle or raise money in your own unique way. Make sure you check and follow all local restrictions, and of course,

don’t forgot all the other brilliant ways you could raise money through walking, running, baking, swimming, or cycling! Use your imagination and turn some fun with friends into an amazing opportunity to make a difference. Share your ideas and photos on our social media channels using the hashtag #funfundraiser or get in touch at fundraising@homeforgood.org.uk Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021


Home for Good’s new Director of Strategic Engagement. Andrew Hornsby recently joined the Home for Good team and we’ve loved getting to know him, so we asked him a few questions so now you can too! Hi Andrew, it’s great to have you with us! Tell us about yourself and your new role here. It’s great to be here. I’m Andrew, married to Claire, we have two young birth daughters called Harriet and Patience, and we’re respite foster carers. I’m passionate about helping vulnerable people, particularly younger people and children who have perhaps been let down by systems, so obviously I’m really excited to continue that at Home for Good. In this role I’ll be providing strategic leadership and overseeing our engagement with churches, champions, local movements and church movements.

What prompted you to consider fostering? My wife and I have both been hugely involved in supporting vulnerable kids in a variety of ways, and we felt we had skills and experience to offer. We’re offering respite care now but are keen to explore long-term fostering in the future. Our main prompt was actually Home for Good! We were challenged by the idea that one family in every church stepping up to foster would solve the crisis and felt we could be that


family for children who needed it. I hope that now I can be a part of reaching more families through churches, so that many more children find the families they need.

How can we be praying for our work across the country? I feel this is a real opportunity to become more effective in our work and reach even more people and churches. It would be great if our supporters could be praying for our team in every part of the UK – for our staff, all our champions and volunteers, local movements and churches – everyone who is part of outworking our mission, that they would feel connected and empowered, and God would use us to find a home for every child who needs one.

Describe your perfect Saturday! That’s tough! Probably get out for an early run, then home for a full English breakfast. Maybe a family bike ride in the sun, then put the kids to bed before heading out for a gig in the evening – that would make for a pretty good day!

Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021


Our wonderful friends at Eden.co.uk have partnered with Home for Good since we launched as a charity in 2014, inviting their brilliant customers to ‘round up’ their sales at the checkout or make a donation to our work. ach year they have sold Easter and Christmas charity cards with our branding, helping to raise awareness as well as funds. Incredibly, since our partnership began, Eden’s generous customers have donated a staggering half a million pounds to Home for Good! Recently, Eden branched out into selling flowers, with each bouquet including a

10% charity donation – and once again, they have selected Home for Good as one of their three chosen charity partners. If you want to send flowers to a loved one, we’d definitely recommend Eden.co.uk! Thank you to the fantastic Eden.co.uk and every single customer who has made a donation over the years. You are making a huge difference to vulnerable children in the UK.





Keep in touch! We’d love to continue the journey. homeforgood.org.uk/keep-in-touch Home for Good Magazine | Summer 2021


One body. Many parts. All honoured. - 1 Corinthians 12 -

SATURDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2021 10 am - 4:30 pm The Ridgeway Centre, Milton Keynes Children and young people go free!

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