One child taken into care every 20 minutes in the UK
The Christian adoption and fostering charity Home for Good has invoked the spirit of World War Two's evacuation programme to protect today's vulnerable children.
Operation Pied Piper was launched by Neville Chamberlain's government 75 years ago today (September 1 1939) as World War 2 loomed.
Youngsters in London and many other cities from Grimsby to Liverpool were evacuated to safe locations out of the reach of German bombers.
Today, as Home for Good launches as an independent charity, its director Dr Krish Kandiah urges families to open their homes to foster and adopt.
More children than ever before are being taken into care – one every 20 minutes – with another 6,000 children waiting to be adopted.
The charity's campaign has been supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson who said: "The Second World War saw children in their thousands evacuated from the capital and taken into the care of families around the country.
"The 75th anniversary of Operation Pied Piper is an opportunity to remember the kindness of those who willingly provided a safe haven for those young Londoners.
"It should also remind us that thousands of youngsters today, in the capital and across the country, are also in need of a loving home and I urge more people to consider fostering and adoption to help them get the start in life they deserve."
Home for Good started life as part of the Evangelical Alliance UK. General Director of the Alliance, Steve Clifford, said the new charity goes with the prayers and blessings of the entire Alliance family:
"In the same way that Tearfund was incubated and birthed out of the Evangelical Alliance nearly 50 years ago, so it is a delight and privilege to now be releasing Home for Good as an independent charity.
"The impact of the Home for Good campaign over the last two years has been extraordinary. The combined efforts of Care for the Family, Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) and the Evangelical Alliance, led by Dr Krish Kandiah, has seen the issue of adoption and fostering explode into the consciousness of evangelical Christians all over the country."
Last week it was announced that Dr Krish Kandiah – currently executive director of Churches in Mission at the EA – will succeed Lord Carey as President of the London School of Theology (LST). He will continue in his role at Home for Good.
"With more children than ever coming into the care system in the UK we took the decision that Home for Good needs to become its own charity to make sure every child that needs a forever family finds one," he said. "We believe the church is uniquely placed to help find thousands of children the homes they need; indeed it is a vital part of every Christian's calling to play their part in caring for the vulnerable."
A government survey has shown that religious people were reluctant to step forward in the belief that the authorities would not allow them to foster or adoption. That myth has now been dispelled, Kandiah said.
He added: "Three quarters of a century from September 1939 we must rediscover the welcoming generosity of Operation Pied Piper.
"We do not face air raids, but today there are thousands of children who need homes and families. In England alone there are 6,000 children waiting for adoption and another 8,600 need foster care.
"In 1939, even men and women who could scarcely afford it welcomed children – many from difficult backgrounds – into their homes. We need that spirit today."
Since its launch one and a half years ago Home for Good has reached more than 250,000 Christians with the message about fostering and adoption.
Two hundred churches took part in the first ever national Adoption Sunday. In Southampton alone 70 church-goers applied to be foster carers, while across the country hundreds have attended seminars and events to find out more about fostering and adoption.
On 2 November, Home for Good will host its second annual National Adoption Sunday in churches across the UK.
For more information on Home for Good click here.