A children’s charity has called on Christians to be try and support families in their local community as a new report has found 16,000 babies in England are living in households affected by a “toxic trio” of problems.
England’s Children’s Commissioner’s report claimed children in these homes grow up around domestic violence, drug or alcohol dependency as well as severe mental ill health, without help from social services.
It also found more than 160,000 children aged under five are living in homes with two of these issues.
Chris Allcock is the programme director at Safe Families for Children – a Christian charity that works with children’s services to link families in need with a network of local volunteers who can offer them support.
Speaking during Premier’s News Hour about his reaction to the report, he said: “There’s sadness in it in terms of the fact that there are babies and children in our society – some of the most vulnerable people in our society – who are living in these situations.
“At Safe Families, we feel quite strongly that every child deserves to feel special and secure.”
The commissioner, Anne Longfield, wants help focused on babies in the first year of life who are particularly vulnerable.
Allcock said we can all do our part to help put families back on track.
He explained: “It can be just as simple as someone having a friend – someone who can come alongside and talk to them – someone who just actually shows them there is someone who cares. Often, that’s all a family needs.”
“If, actually, you have no sense of where you can get support from, if you’ve got none who you can call on just to help you to give you a bit of parenting advice, if you don’t have an extended family, that often can leave you feeling so vulnerable and so isolated.
“So actually having people they can call on can be a really, really simple way of just bringing a family back on track.”
While he acknowledged there will be circumstances where families will need to seek professional help, he said there were steps Christians could take to help prevent a family falling apart.
He added: “For so many families in our society, really simple things like someone just offering to help look after children for them for a bit just to give them a break or to help them declutter their house… those things can suddenly make a family feel they’re connected and in a community and they can start to build relationships.”
This article appeared in the UK publication, Premier: https://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/Christians-urged-to-be-good-neighbours-as-report-finds-16-000-babies-live-in-toxic-homes