5 questions to ask your parliamentary candidate during the 2019 General Election

What to ask your parliamentary candidate this general election

I have never known an election like this one.

I know people say it every time, but this really is an election of a different nature. In the last few days, I have had multiple conversations with people who reckon they could end up at the polling station with their pen in hand, playing a game of ip dip to choose the box in which to place their ‘X’.

And yet at the very same time, the stakes are high. A Johnson led government would undeniably be of a radically different flavor to one led by Corbyn and the ramifications of each would be felt by different parts of society in different ways. We can’t possibly complain that the leaders of the parties are all the ‘same’ as we may have in the past.

To my mind, however, there is one thing that remains the same. In each and every election, we the electorate have the opportunity to secure a government who will play a special role in the lives of the 95,000 children who are in the care of the State. We are choosing the new and ultimate corporate parent for these precious and vulnerable youngest members of our society.

As canvassers and candidates seek our votes, we have a unique opportunity to speak up for vulnerable children and encourage those vying for our support to consider the role they might play on their behalf if elected.

Before we cover a few suggested questions, it’s worth remembering that many candidates are unlikely to have a comprehensive understanding of the needs of looked after children – this is your opportunity to inspire them to take action (if elected) and to demonstrate your supportfor the issues and for them.

There are countless issues that we at Home for Good would love to see our new MPs and our new government championing, here are a few you might want to raise:

  1. Care of teenagers
  2. Adoption of Black and Ethnic Minority children
  3. Post adoption support
  4. Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children
  5. Supporting children overseas

The number of teenagers in care is rising. Teenagers who are unable to live with their birth families deserve safe and stable alternative care but too many are placed in inappropriate settings, are made vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation and are not offered the love and support of consistent caregivers.

You could ask: If elected, what will you do to ensure that young people in the care system are not placed alone in inappropriate accommodation such as B&Bs, caravan parks and tents? Will you sign Home for Good’s five-star pledge to commit your support on this issue?

Black children are overrepresented in the care system and wait longer to get adopted. 24% of all children who have been waiting longer than 18 months to be adopted are from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds*.

You could ask: What will you do to address the reality that Black children are nearly five times less likely to be adopted compared to white children? What do you think needs to happen at a local and national level to achieve equality for Black children in care?

Three quarters of adopted children have entered the care system due to abuse or severe neglect and all will have suffered the trauma and loss of separation from their birth family.

You could ask: In recognition of adopted children’s ongoing needs, what action will you take to secure support for these families in the long term? If elected, will you commit to joining the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Adoption and Permanence to use your place in Parliament to speak up on behalf of these children and young people?

There are 13 million child refugees in the world. Our nation has a proud history of welcoming child refugees and offering them a place of refuge. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport rescue effort which saw 10,000 children brought to Britain and settled into British foster families. There are more than 5,000 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the UK care system.

You could ask: What action will you take as a Member of Parliament to ensure that there are enough loving homes for children fleeing war and persecution to be welcomed into?

There are 8 million children in overseas orphanages but 80% of them have a living parent. It is poverty, not being orphaned, that drives children into institutions. See more about this at homecomingproject.org

You could ask: What will you do to ensure that the UK takes action so that, where possible, children are raised in families rather than institutions around the world?

When we speak up for those who have no voice in this election we demonstrate something vital about the compassion and grace of our God – may God bless your advocacy on behalf of our nation’s vulnerable children

*England only statistic.

Emily Christou, Home for Good



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