Work by Hampshire County Council to highlight the need for more foster carers and adopters in Hampshire, and provide opportunities for people to find out more, has received the ‘blessing’ of the Bishop of Basingstoke.
Finding Homes for Hampshire Children, Hampshire County Council’s Adoption and Fostering Service, recently welcomed the Right Reverend David Williams to an event held at Winchester Discovery Centre. During his visit, he met specialist social care officers, experienced foster carers and adopters and those considering becoming foster carers or adopting.
Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Keith Mans, said: “Our drop-in events, for those interested in fostering or adopting, are a vital part of the process of finding children a stable, loving home. For a person, or couple considering taking on a child, the opportunity to talk to professionals as well as parents who have already experienced the process, is extremely valuable.
“To have Bishop David attend one of our events is a great honour; especially at this time of year, when we focus more on time with family and friends. A visit from the Bishop reminds us of the importance of foster carers and adopters to the children and young people who find a home with them.”
Bishop David commented: “We all have a responsibility to look after those children within our community who are facing emotional hardship. A safe and stable home is the best place for a child to flourish, and caring for a child in a family home is the most important thing we can do for a child who is unable to stay with his or her birth family.
“I want to encourage families in parishes across the Diocese of Winchester to consider how they could provide support to children in care in Hampshire. This might be short term respite care, a longer term foster placement or adoption.”
Bishop David is one of the Suffragan Bishops in the Anglican Diocese of Winchester, which covers most of Hampshire and East Dorset.
Finding Homes for Hampshire Children holds regular drop-in events across the county for individuals and couples who are interested in fostering or adopting. The team would like to speak to anyone who has a spare bedroom, is over the age of 21 and has parenting or professional childcare experience. Finding Homes for Hampshire Children supports cultural and gender diversity, as well individuals and families in the military services.
Once approved, foster carers and adopters attend regular training sessions which give them the skills to support children who, in many cases, have been through neglect and abuse. Finding Homes for Hampshire Children offers continued support for children in care and the individuals and families that provide a safe and stable home for them.
To contact Finding Homes for Hampshire Children, call 0300 555 1384, or visit www.hants.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering where you can read about the service and, during office hours, talk to a member of the team using ‘live chat’. The website also offers a list of future drop-in events, which are always free to attend and do not require advance booking.