Father's Day 2014: Christian Men who are Changing the World of Fostering
An overwhelming majority of British men shy away from applying to become foster dads because they think they'll be rejected but the church-based organisation, Home for Good, says that this fear is unfounded and is appealing to Christian men to step forward this Father's Day.
A recent survey revealed that 73% of men believe they would not be accepted as a foster carer if they applied in the next two years.
Dr Krish Kandiah, a director of the Evangelical Alliance, said that many Christian men are already breaking the old fashioned image of a foster carer as a middle-aged woman slaving over a hot stove to feed a house full of little children.
Dr Kandiah, himself a foster dad, believes there is a role for church families to providing a loving and caring home for children in need.
"We have been travelling the country talking to churches about this and many women say they would love to be foster carers but it is their husbands putting the brakes on their family taking part so I am calling on men to step forward and be the father that these vulnerable children need," he said.
There are currently 52,500 foster families looking after 63,000 children in the UK but the Fostering Network has said there is still need for another 8,600 families this year.
Several professional men are supporting the Alliance's Home for Good campaign this Father's Day urging other fathers to step forward and help.
Quotes from some of these men:
Dr David Ward, Fusion Scientist: "I became a foster carer about a year ago. We've got three wonderful children of our own who are pretty much grown up now. I know that a lot of families haven't had that same stable environment and I would like to help kids provide some stability in their lives. At the minute we are fostering a baby boy and he's the only person on the planet that squeals with delight when he sees me in the morning."
Sir Mark Hedley, High Court Judge, says he's 'on the case': "A lot of colleagues I work with do not end up as foster carers but from my point of view, I see my life as an integrated life of service so you can't leave things at work, they all come home as well. Additionally I had always had a deep interest in fostering and adoption though I can't really say why I had. Finally I was always strongly influenced by the impetus in scriptures about caring for the orphan and how important that was in both Old Testament and new. I think it was a combination of those things that led me to be a foster carer."
Mark Sheldon, airline pilot, says he's 'onboard': "I think [for children] just being in a normal family and having the love of parents around them and the love of a family is enormously beneficial to them. But the best thing and the best memories from fostering for me is when you get to stand up for a child and make sure they get the best help and support they need, whether that is from social services, the school or the NHS, and I think to be able to use that protective instinct that we all have as fathers and see the difference that makes to a child that really for me is my greatest joy from fostering, just being a champion for the kids."
Phil Watson, School teacher: "I found myself, thinking about children in a looked-after situation - they have no mum, no dad, no aunts, no uncles, all that stuff that I always take for granted and that I know that my own children take for granted. And I just find that absolutely terrifying, how would it feel for a little kid to be told that you are going on a sleepover with people that you don't know and you don't know for how long. Terrifying. And the least you can do is say come to my house where I know you will be safe, and even if you are scared, I know you will be safe in my house."
A video of all the men supporting the campaign is available at: www.homeforgood.org.uk/fathersday2014/
© 2014 Evangelical Alliance UK