Changing the landscape for vulnerable children

At Home for Good we are committed to finding a home for every child who needs one – and we take a two-pronged approach to achieve this vision.

‘Never in a million years’. That was the answer we got when, in 2013, our group of researchers and advocates from the Centre for Social Justice pitched a new Modern Slavery Act to senior advisers at Downing Street. The legislation would be the first concerted legal effort to fight slavery since William Wilberforce’s historic Act 200 years earlier. My colleagues and I left disappointed, but not entirely downtrodden. We knew that this legislative change was crucial to the fight against modern slavery in the UK; the structures of law needed to be radically better to secure justice for the growing cohort of vulnerable people trafficked into the UK to be exploited across the country. A few months after our Downing Street disappointment, a newspaper dropped onto my doormat: ‘Home Secretary to fight modern slavery with new law’. It had taken countless conversations, briefing papers, presentations and evidence sessions to make a compelling case. We had taken politicians to see the on-the-ground work of charities providing support for survivors, inviting them to witness first-hand the way change was taking place on the frontline – and the great need for them to match it at the national level. We’d had setbacks, delays and moments of despair. But in March 2015 the Modern Slavery Act passed in parliament. I had the privilege of sitting in the public gallery to hear the final vote. Whilst the moment itself was classically understated, I still got goosebumps.

Change happens in a myriad of different ways, but it essentially falls into two camps: top down and bottom up. The former can be slow and frustrating, the latter relentless and exhausting, but the combination of these two approaches can change the world. At Home for Good we are committed to finding a home for every child who needs one – and we take this two-pronged approach to achieve this vision.

Our bottom-up work involves equipping the growing network of incredible people in communities and churches across the country to foster or adopt. Every day we hear stories of the lives that have been changed and the futures made brighter as children are brought into homes and given a tribe to call their own.

Our top-down activity recognises that that the social care system is not a product of design but the culmination of years of quick fixes, budget cuts and small-scale reforms. And though within this system there are incredible, committed social workers and other professionals who work tirelessly to advocate for children, there is much work to do to make things better. A broken system serves nobody well. Here at Home for Good, our systemic change team refuse to believe the old adage ‘it’s just the way it is’. We take the stories, experiences and wisdom of care-experienced children and the families who’ve provided them a home, and we demonstrate to those in power across the UK that there is a better way of doing things. We build a bridge between those whose voices are too often ignored, and those who have the power to make change. The soon-to-be-published report from the All- Party Parliamentary Group on Adoption and Permanence (APPGAP), authored by Adoption UK and Home for Good, is just one example of our commitment to amplify the voices of vulnerable children and their adoptive families. The report powerfully demonstrates the need for greater input to ensure stability for children who are adopted. Our activity engaging with the Care Review in England has included high-level discussions on how we care more effectively for older children and teenagers in the care system, and what we do about the racial disparity that’s so prevalent in the care system.

We are committed to removing the systemic barriers to adoption and fostering, enabling more people to step forward and offer a place of belonging for a child who needs one. We seek to have integrity as we invite more people to come into contact with this system, knowing that we are working to improve it. This is the reason for our systemic change work, and it forms a crucial part of our vision to improve the landscape for vulnerable children across the UK. We want to see change from the bottom up, as more people open up their homes, and churches become networks of support for adopters and foster carers. And we want to see full-scale reform from the top down, to give children the best chance of a full and hope-filled future. Some might say ‘never in a million years’. We say ‘let’s get to work’.

Lucy Colman, Director of Influencing

Author:
Lucy at Home for Good


Date published:
28 July 2021


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