HAMPSHIRE’s adoption and fostering service has received a bishop’s blessing at a drop-in session at Winchester Discovery Centre.

‘Finding Homes for Hampshire Children’ welcomed the Bishop of Basingstoke, the Right Reverend David Williams, to their event, where he met specialist social care officers, experienced foster carers and adopters and those considering becoming foster carers or adopting.

Bishop David is one of the Suffragan bishops in the Anglican Diocese of Winchester, which covers most of Hampshire and East Dorset.

It holds regular drop-in events for individuals and couples who are interested in fostering or adopting.

Cllr Keith Mans, executive lead member for children’s services, said: “Our drop-in events, for those interested in fostering or adopting, are a vital part of the process of finding children a stable, loving home. “For a person, or couple considering taking on a child, the opportunity to talk to professionals as well as parents who have already experienced the process, is extremely valuable.”

“To have Bishop David attend one of our events is a great honour; especially at this time of year, when we focus more on time with family and friends. A visit from the Bishop reminds us of the importance of foster carers and adopters to the children and young people who find a home with them.”

Bishop David said: “We all have a responsibility to look after those children within our community who are facing emotional hardship. A safe and stable home is the best place for a child to flourish, and caring for a child in a family home is the most important thing we can do for a child who is unable to stay with his or her birth family.”

“I want to encourage families in parishes across the Diocese of Winchester to consider how they could provide support to children in care in Hampshire. This might be short term respite care, a longer term foster placement or adoption.”

The team would like to speak to anyone who has a spare bedroom, is over the age of 21 and has parenting or professional childcare experience.

Once approved, foster carers and adopters attend regular training sessions which give them the skills to support children who, in many cases, have been through neglect and abuse.