Stormont Reception

An event for gathering together key people in Northern Ireland to find a home for every child who needs one.

On Tuesday 26 February 2019, we hosted our first ever Stormont Reception – a gathering of almost 100 church leaders, foster carers, adopters, Trusts and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in the Northern Irish Assembly.

The reception was kindly hosted by Robbie Butler MLA, Chris Lyttle MLA and Nicola Mallon MLA, and it served as an opportunity to raise awareness of the current need for 200 more foster carers in Northern Ireland and many more adopters for children who wait the longest. During the event we were able to celebrate some of the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things for vulnerable children in Northern Ireland.

“I’m delighted to be able to support the work of Home for Good and their vision to see vulnerable children across Northern Ireland find the homes they need and receive vital support. It is imperative that these children do not slip off our nation’s agenda and stakeholders across all sectors must work together if we want to give these children the futures they deserve.” Robbie Butler, MLA


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It was great to hear from an adopter, an adoptee, a church leader, our friends from Adoption UK, Barnardos and the Aris Register, and also Home for Good staff including Malini Colville (our Northern Ireland Lead) and Krish Kandiah (our Founding Director).

“This event was all about changing the narrative. When I read the statistics, which tell us that we desperately need more foster carers and adopters and that a third of care leavers have no qualifications whatsoever or around a third of young people in custody have care experience, it’s clear to me that we all have a part to play to change the trajectory for our young people. I know that the churches and faith communities in Northern Ireland can be a part of the solution – by recognising our own adoption into God’s family and by offering children the same loving welcome and by supporting foster and adoptive families in our communities.” Malini Colville, Home for Good Northern Ireland Lead

William, an adoptee shared some of his story with those at the event. We loved the moment when William was asked “Why should Christians care about fostering and adoption?” and responded with “Well Christians have already been adopted themselves. If they don’t believe in adoption, they’ve got a serious problem!” We happen to agree!

As part of the reception, attendees were invited to play their part in one of three ways – by raising the profile of fostering or adoption in their community or by partnering with Home for Good or by fundraising. Once they had chosen their action, they wrote it on a piece of a house-shaped puzzle as a sign that if we all play our part, we can find homes for children who need them.

“As we wait for the Assembly and the Executive to return, we are already seeing churches and communities stand in the gap for looked after children and those that care for them, from setting up local support groups to running local recruitment campaigns to find foster carers and adopters, and want to encourage many more to do the same. This event was all about celebrating these people. But it was also an opportunity to remind decision-makers, policy-makers and influencers that we need legislative and policy change to really disrupt the systems that keep these children and families at a disadvantage. We used the reception to remind politicians that communities are ready and waiting to partner with them to make positive change a reality for the most vulnerable in society.” Natalie Hunter-Mills, Home for Good Policy and Research Officer

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“I have been hugely concerned to hear of the challenges faced by fostered or adopted children and their families. Also, that there are over 3000 children and young people in the care system looking for foster and adopting families. As churches and Faith communities, I believe we have a given mandate to love and care for our young people, particularly the most vulnerable. I believe Home for Good being present in Northern Ireland can make a significant impact to raise the number of foster or adopting families. I’m hoping events like this one will help us all to see that these young people can have great futures when we all pull together for their good.” Rev Brian Anderson, President of the Irish Council of Churches

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Last year, 848 children entered Northern Ireland’s foster care system.

Fostering services in Northern Ireland need to recruit 200 new foster carers this year, particularly for sibling groups and teenagers. If you'd like to learn more, click here.

Author:
Home for Good


Date published:
5 March 2019


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