Four reasons fostering and adoption are in the DNA of the Church - part two

Reason two: Because it is a justice issue.

I truly believe that caring for vulnerable children is right at the heartbeat of the character of God, and is therefore the calling of His Church. Fostering and adoption is part of our DNA because of many reasons, but here are four of the most significant.

Reason two: Because it is a justice issue

The story within which we have been called as Church is the story of God’s mission to reconcile all of creation to Himself. One of the great strides of the second half of the twentieth century was the growing understanding of the big story of God’s mission (the ‘missio Dei’) as a holistic endeavour.

As well as a commitment to proclaiming repentance and the forgiveness of sins, the Church is called to live out the characteristics of the Kingdom of God in society as part of our participation in God’s mission. This is expressed, for example, in this call in the book of Micah:

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6.8 (ESV)

In the first of these posts we saw that a passion for justice is an essential part of who God is.

One way in which the Church in the UK can celebrate and express this Kingdom characteristic is to seek goodness, wholeness and ‘shalom’ in society - and this has incredibly practical implications for looked after children as it simply isn’t right that the life chances of looked after children are so much poorer than those in permanent families. Consider these statistics:

  • There is a 40% gap in GCSE attainment between children who are in care and those who are not - only 12% of looked after children achieve five or more GCSEs at grades A-C, whereas the figure for ‘non looked-after children’ is 52% [1}
  • Children leaving the care system are about six times less likely to go on to higher education than other young people [2]
  • About 40% of care leavers are not in education, employment or training, compared with a national average of 15% of all 19-year-olds [3]
  • "Children and young people who are, or have been, in care are over five times more likely than other children to get involved in the criminal justice system" [4]
  • 30% of homeless people were in care [5]

There is an intolerable inequity going on around us. The Church’s call to advocate for a more just society simply must address the lack of wholeness and shalom experienced by children in care. Despite the many efforts of many excellent people who work in the care system, could we not do more to improve the life chances of these young people?

What could your Church community do to improve just one of these statistics? In the light of these statistics, and the many stories behind them, what does the LORD our God require of us?

Read part one of the series Read part three of the series Read part four of the series

Tim teaches Biblical Studies and Mission at Redcliffe College in Gloucester and has a PhD in the Old Testament. He leads the College’s newly established Fostering, Adoption and the Church research project and serves on Home for Good’s Council of Reference.

This series was originally published on Fostering, Adoption and the Church in October 2015

Author:
Dr Tim Davy


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