Archbishop Jonathan Blake

The Most Reverend Jonathan Blake, Presiding Archbishop of the Open Episcopal Church B.A. (Hons), Dip. Pastoral Studies. Bishop's Haven, 105 Danson Crescent Welling DA16 2AS U.K. Mobile: 07767 687711 The Church is a member of The International Council of Community churches and the World Council of Churches. Married and a proud Dad.

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Location: London, Kent, United Kingdom

Gassed in Tehran, seized in Kabul, helped Mother Teresa, almost murdered, raised £300,000, ordained 1981, street sleeper, pilgrim to Auschwitz, Kenya + Pakistan 4 peace, wrote text on Parliament, convicted, began 1st inter-faith NHS chapel, relinquished his 12 year Anglican post 2 be independent, baptised 1000's in homes, on Mt Snowdon + in circus ring, did wedding underwater, wrote ‘For God’s Sake Don’t Go To Church’, nailed 95 Theses to Canterbury cathedral, arrested, co-founded the Society for Independent Ministry, consecrated a bishop, co-founded the Open Episcopal Church, did 1st gay wedding on prime time TV, sued Associated Newspapers 4 defamation, co-consecrated 1st women bishops 4 England. Wales + Scotland, accommodated the homeless, took Mass 2 sex workers, posted it, elected Archbishop, arrested 4 taking kids on roof, founded ‘When No One’s Watching', became an ICV, did Jade Goody's wedding , invited 2 Downing St, wrote 'That Old Devil Called God Again', arrested 4 campaigning against child abuse, harassment conviction/restraining order quashed on appeal, convicted 4 continued blogging 2 stop paedophile, providing bore hole + solar powered water pump 4 Gambian village.

Thursday, June 05, 2014



Early last year we applied to Bexley to foster. We have a happy stable and loving home and wanted to open it to vulnerable children.

There is a national shortage of foster carers and so many needy children are being passed from pillar to post, ending up traumatised and even finding themselves on the streets after Local Authority 'care'.

We have spent over a year going through the process. We have attended 5 days of training. Our children have attended a day's training. We have spent countless hours being interviewed.  The assessing social worker was in our home continually and investigating every area of our lives. We have spent money fulfilling the necessary requirements.

Throughout we were supported by the assessing social worker and her managers and they fully, wholeheartedly and absolutely recommended us  (Therefore, I have no reservations in recommending that the panel approve Annette and Jonathan as foster carers for Bexley Local Authority),  in the most glowing terms as you can read below. We had excellent references from a Headteacher, a teacher, a former schools inspector, a residentiary Canon at Durham cathedral  and many more. We had exemplary references from families in the community about Jonathan's work with children.

However, we were rejected.

Bexley's panel and the appeal panel ignored the report and the recommendation. In fact it seemed that they hadn't even read it. They were fixated on other 'unrelated'  issues.

When we were foster carers previously we exposed a Social Services scam to the Daily Telegraph.

Specifically that Social Services knowingly were placing adults into homes and school class rooms  pretending they were children and allowing them to groom, go out with and sleep with their class mates without alerting the foster carers, the school or any other authorities to the scam.

We had two 'young teenagers' placed with us allegedly from Kosovo whose parents had been murdered during the war. They had been in foster care for three years before being placed with us.

During the two years they were with us, we managed to discover what Social Services were concealing. The 'boys' were actually men, not from Kosovo but Albania, and were scamming the system to gain a free education and send their fostering allowance plus other money they were secretly earning back to their families, all of whom were alive and well, so that they could build an additional home on a family plot in the capital Tirana.

We raised the matter with the fostering agency and Social Services but they were not concerned because they said it was a well-known issue, about which they were willing to do nothing.

We decided we had to contact the Daily Telegraph to alert other families to the dangers such a scam was posing to their children.

Bexley and the appeal panel were panicked that if we uncovered further corruption, malpractice or found that crass Social services decisions were traumatising children, we would not sit silently by, but would protest.

They didn't want foster carers who were willing to challenge authority but ones willing to be subservient and compliant, even when the needs of children were being threatened.

Democracy and good practice depends on whistle-blowers. However the truth is, Social Services doesn't want them or welcome them, in fact they actively discriminate against them.

They also didn't like the fact that I worked publicly, had a web site with my address on it. They didn't like the fact that I comment about events in society and campaign on social issues and against injustice.

They were concerned about my web site that urged families under investigation by Social Services to video record every meeting that took place with the social workers and other related professionals so they have an objective record of what had taken place to be able to produce to protect themselves and their children in case the Social Services or others were going to take action against them.

It was clear that they wanted to protect their advantage irrespective of whether it resulted in unjust outcomes for children.

We considered taking our rejection to Judicial Review, however, realised that even if we were successful, we could not work within such a compromised and self interested structure, and it would not be safe to do so.

However, it is important that the rot in Bexley and the National Fostering Authority is known and pressure mounted to effect change.


Annette presented with a good sense of humour and a lively, warm and positive personality. She contributed well in group work during training and individually. She was confident and open, sharing personal experiences and was often the first to speak about a new topic in the large group. Annette has a diverse attitude and was able to critically analyse.
Annette thought deeply about safe caring. She had a good understanding and non-judgemental attitudes and a risk sensible approach.
Annette showed understanding and empathy. She participated well in role-play and was able to 'put herself' in the shoes of the character, resulting in insightful thought and reflection.
Annette presented as very family orientated.
Annette adopts a common sense approach seeing the child as an individual with his or her own unique set of circumstances.

Jonathan presented as a friendly, articulate, intelligent, sensitive and warm individual. He consistently showed respect for the other members of the group. He listened to other members in group discussions and took on board their opinions. He shared personal amusing information.

Jonathan has a friendly manner about him (body language, facial expressions, tone of voice) which would be good for a looked after child.

Jonathan was observed to have good interpersonal skills and made people feel at ease.

He was aware of diversity and the importance of accepting people for who they are and adopting a non-judgemental attitude.

Similar to Annette, Jonathan was very family orientated.

Jonathan was good at communicating in a clear and non-patronising manner to ensure he was understood.


Annette was very open & honest with me as the assessor and I found her to be a warm & compassionate person.  Annette has a loving and nurturing approach to parenting and I have observed a secure attachment to all three of her children in the home. 
Annette is attuned to her children and is able to predict their needs and wants. 

Referees have also commented on the ‘quality’ of Annette’s parenting.

Annette has led a productive life as an adult and moreover she has been able to sustain a healthy & loving marriage with Jonathan as well as sustain positive & appropriate relationships with others.

Jonathan is a warm, genuine and compassionate person who I found to be broad minded and very tolerant of others, which again, are qualities that we look for in a foster carer.  I also found Jonathan to be transparent and refreshingly honest.

 Jonathan is a very warm and caring person and an amazing father to his three children.

Annette and Jonathan have a wholesome attitude towards others and neither appear to have any prejudices or discriminatory attitudes that may impact on their ability to promote a child’s identity, whilst in their care. What is more, Annette and Jonathan have a child focused family orientated value base, which in turn will support them to address any concerns they have regarding the child’s identity. 

Annette and Jonathan are attuned to their own children’s needs and I am confident that they will able to transfer this to the Looked After Child in order to raise their self-esteem, as well as improve the way they regard themselves.  Both carers have an innate ability to see the world through a child’s eyes (also reflected at training) and I have no doubt that they will challenge any prejudice in an appropriate way if any arose.

Annette and Jonathan have a very good attitude towards education and both are considered to be supportive parents who always attend parent’s evenings or any other events arranged by school.  Furthermore, they were reported to be supportive of the boy’s homework assignments and thought to provide opportunities that promote learning.  (See references from both schools for a full report)

I am confident that Annette and Jonathan have the ability to fully promote the educational life chances of all Looked After Children in their care.  Furthermore, they will promote additional opportunities to encourage, motivate and facilitate the necessary learning that will be tailored to the child’s individual needs.  Annette is very loving and nurturing and Jonathan is very creative in his ideas so together, as a team, they will ensure a child achieves educational attainment despite the challenges faced by Looked After Children. 

Annette and Jonathan have a good attitude towards employment and both promote their children’s education in order for them to secure future employment & economic well-being. 

During the assessment, it was evident that they have transferable skills that will greatly benefit children & young people of all ages. 

Jonathan has also led a very interesting and thought-provoking life that on balance, I believe would greatly benefit a Looked After Child in his care. 

Annette and Jonathan maintain good health and both have a positive outlook on life.  Jonathan especially believes in promoting children’s health by way of engaging them spiritually i.e. allowing plenty of time for them to express themselves as well as their views and Annette encourages the boys to participate in the menu planning as well as cooking.  

As a family, they maintain a well-balanced and varied diet. Neither, Annette or Jonathan smokes and both have a positive attitude to maintaining their health.

Medicals for both applicants were clear and the recommendation was ‘fit to foster’.

Annette and Jonathan are very engaging & energetic people who actively encourage their children to partake in leisure activities as well as to explore new recreational interests.  l am confident that they will encourage children and young people placed with them to engage in constructive leisure activities as this will also promote a positive sense of self.

Annette and Jonathan are aware that Looked After Children need support to engage as well as to make and sustain positive friendships within their peer groups.  I have no doubt that they will be able to support a Looked After Child as their interests are flexible and often carried out as a family unit.

It is evident that Annette and Jonathan manage their life through remaining open with each other as well as maintaining clear communication.  Decisions are made jointly and I have observed an equal partnership.

They have presented as being open and honest throughout my involvement and on occasions Annette has told Jonathan he was being ‘too honest’. It was quite refreshing to interview someone like Jonathan, who clearly wanted to remain very open and authentic during all of our meetings.

I have also experienced Annette and Jonathan as being quite a fun couple, who definitely have a lot of energy.  They maintain a positive outlook on life whereby they are happy, content, close and a very warm couple who want to offer a Looked After Child a positive experience of family life and the care system.

They are certainly stable and able to provide a foster placement to our Looked After Children and moreover, I am confident that a child will experience much love and warmth from all the family as well as from Annette and Jonathan as their foster carers.

When I interviewed them separately, both spoke lovingly about each other and both valued and had a lot of respect for their partner.  Annette referred to Jonathan as being the ‘most caring person she had ever met’.  She also described him as being very ‘artistic and in touch with his feminine side’.

Jonathan feels that ‘Nettie’ is the most ‘beautiful, loving and loyal person’ that he has ever met.  Nettie is Jonathan’s pet name for Annette.  He also spoke about her parenting and informed me that as a mother, she is warm, kind, caring and always available for her children no matter what time of the day it is.

It was evident that they know each other well and that their relationship continues to be successful and one built on trust.  Annette and Jonathan plan on ‘growing old together’.

They especially like to go on holidays as a family together and both feel that they would want to take a fostered child with them as they would be considered a part of their family.

Annette and Jonathan have given much consideration to how fostering will impact on their lives and both feel that they have the time, room and more importantly, the emotional space to take on the fostering task at this time in their lives.

I have no concerns about their ability to foster and to provide a high standard of care in line with the current Fostering Regulations and NMS 2011.

 As a family, they are very stable and all three children fully agree with their parent’s application to foster.

Annette and Jonathan are financially secure and will not rely on fostering as an income. They have a positive attitude towards finances and both are sensible in terms of budgeting and how the money is spent.

Annette and Jonathan have a positive attitude towards their finances in general and I have no concerns in this area of assessment.  They maintain a good standard of living and always ensure their mortgage and bills are paid on time. 

Their children all receive pocket money and all are given guidance on how to budget appropriately.

Annette and Jonathan will be able to support children & young people to manage their limited budget in order to prepare them for independence.

Annette and Jonathan appear to be motivated to foster as a result of them having an innate want and ability to provide children with a warm & loving home and moreover, to make a positive difference in the life of a Looked After Child.

As a couple, I feel that they have the knowledge and skills as well as the experience to become foster carers for Bexley.  They have all the necessary qualities that one would expect a carer to have and I am confident that with appropriate support and on-going training, they may also go on to complete more specialist training and provide placements for children with more complex needs, when their own children become adults.

Annette and Jonathan had a very negative experience of fostering previously however both are confident that this is something they still want to do.  Annette and Jonathan are committed to making a difference to children’s lives and it is evident by way of
this assessment, that the timing is right for them to become a fostering family.

As a family, they are very close and all three boys have a secure attachment to both parents.  The children are very much at ease around their parents and all were able to speak freely as well as independently. 

There is strong evidence to suggest a positive parenting style, good family support systems are in place and communication is very clear.  Both parents are emotionally available to the children and both parents provide appropriate guidance as well as set clear boundaries.

I found the boys to be individuals, active, confident, warm, kind, caring, funny and all had an age appropriate understanding of the fostering task and why some children need to be Looked After.  It was obvious that all three children had been informed about their parents wish to foster and moreover, Annette and Jonathan had ascertained their views in relation to them becoming a fostering family.

The eldest child is doing very well in school and currently achieving very good grades.  He has a good network of friends and is fully integrated into his community.  He is very active and likes to engage in most sports.  Currently he plays for the school Basket-ball team and I understand that he also plays cricket.

He is a charming young person whom I found to be warm, welcoming, intelligent & polite.  He always engaged with me and I particularly enjoyed speaking with him about fostering, as it was evident that he was informed and for his age, he had good insight into some of the emotional baggage that Looked After Children can bring with them into placement.  He understood that some parents were not able to look after their children if they were ‘ill or on drugs’. He presents as being very mature for his age and I found him easy to talk to.

When I spoke to him about his childhood experiences so far, his response was ‘I feel lucky to have parents who love me.

He described his household as being ‘half way between busy & calm’ and he thought this environment would ‘suit’ a fostered child as they all enjoy partaking in activities, even his Mum.  When I suggested that he would be a good role model for a fostered child, he blushed and said ‘yeah maybe’ however following further discussions he agreed that he had so much to offer, including sharing his friends, if appropriate in order to motivate a child to take part in leisure activities.

He also confirmed that his parents talked to them about a lot of things but they were ‘never smacked’.  He said that his father Jonathan usually did the disciplining which could involve time-out or loss of privileges such as their newly purchased mobile phones.  He explained how he and his brother had to contribute £5.00 towards the monthly payments out of their pocket money as they wanted the top of the range mobiles rather than the one his parents suggested.  He also thought this was a positive way of him and his brother learning how to budget their money.

The middle child and very close in age to his elder brother.  There is only 14 months between them and both boys have a good bond, displaying no sibling rivalry.  He attended St Thomas More school however is due to start secondary school in September. 

He, like his brother, is a charming young person whom I also found to be warm, welcoming, intelligent & polite.  He engaged well with me and was open & honest about his views of fostering.  He feels that his home would welcome a child, preferably a girl aged 4 or 5 years as he gets bored of just having boys around.  He also thought his Mum Annette would like a little girl who she could ‘sometimes do girlie things with’.  He said Annette was always taking them to the park  to do ‘fun things’.

He described his home life as being ‘fun’ whereby his parents like to be actively involved in family time.  He spoke to me about having family meals together around the big table in the dining room which is very child friendly, watching a family movie together on a Friday evening as well as going to Danson Park and seaside trips etc.  He said his Mum is a good cook and they all enjoy her chicken & pasta.  He also spoke about his gran, Annette’s mother who comes to visit however he felt that she was ‘old now so she doesn’t say much’.

He is very creative in the kitchen and his Mum encourages this talent, He told me that he has a special cupboard allocated to him in the kitchen with all his ingredients in as he likes to specialise in baking cakes & cookies etc.  He is also very good at photography, please see family photo album attached which he put together for a Looked After Child to see before they come to stay with them.

He was very chatty about his parents and described his father Jonathan as being a person who lets you ‘decide for yourself’.  He stated that he is not sure about god but that his father would only enter into conversations with him about it if he wanted to talk.  When I asked He about the chapel upstairs, he replied that they were not allowed to play in it but if they wanted to use it for a quiet space they could.

He also confirmed that the family do not believe or use physical punishment and that his father Jonathan has used a ‘behavioural contract’ with them before as well as positive re-enforcement strategies.

The youngest of the sibling group has lots of energy and is more than capable of letting his parents and brothers know about his wishes & feelings. He currently attends St Thomas More and like his brothers, he is well liked and achieving alongside his peer group. He is also actively involved in sports and currently plays football & basketball for his school team.  He wants to introduce a Looked After Child to his friends so they will have ‘someone to play with’.

He was very excited about meeting with me and sharing his views of fostering. He really is a lovely, vibrant little boy, always happy and smiling and moreover willing to talk about his parents, brothers and extended family members.

When I asked him about his family life, his eyes lit up and he could not wait to tell me about all the ‘naughty things’ his parent’s let him do.  He said they didn’t have to go to bed on new year’s eve until they fell down asleep.   He feels that Christmas is ‘magic’ in his house as his father ‘lights it all up’ and all the children in the street post their letters to Father Christmas at his house. 

I asked him if they received presents at Christmas time and he replied ‘yes, loads but we cannot open them all up at once’.  He  ran through the day which appeared to be full of festivities and fun as well as extended family coming over to visit.  Annette was central to all of this and her cooking was well respected, as opposed to Jonathan’s.  All three boys made comment and fun about Jonathan’s ‘crazy ideas’ when it came to cooking and all seem to prefer Annette’s cooking.
He told me how he always has a bed time story read to him by either parent and that he wouldn’t mind if this had to happen in another room before going to bed, if there was a Looked After Child living with them.  He is only 7 years old however he was able to understand that some children may not feel safe to have a story read to them in the bedroom.  He was actually quite insightful and creative with his ideas about how this might be managed in order to still keep story time on the agenda.

Weekends and celebrations were his  favourite times and he spoke at length about how this happened and why he loved it so much.  It was evident that Annette and Jonathan place a huge emphasis on celebrating achievements and making sure that the child in question has their individual time & attention.

Annette and Jonathan have a secure and close relationship and both are very child focused in terms of their parenting style. 

They have equipped and prepared their children appropriately for fostering and I am confident that as a family, they will manage the transition well.

I am certain that they have taken into consideration the impact fostering may have on their own children and I am confident that they will manage the fostering task.

 Annette and Jonathan have an open and clear communication style with each other as well as with their children, so any issues/concerns will be discussed at an early stage and therefore a solution sought.

All three children have a secure attachment as well as a stable home-base and I feel that they are resilient and able to express any concerns should any arise whist they become a fostering family.  All three boys are confident, assertive and able to express their wishes and feelings freely, even the youngest.

All children feel that they can approach either parent and Annette and Jonathan remain emotionally available to them.  As a family, active listening is firmly on the agenda so I do not feel that Annette and Jonathan’s children are vulnerable in any way at this time. 

Annette and Jonathan are attuned to their children’s needs so any change in their behaviour would be noted at a very early stage and I am confident that both parents would take appropriate steps to address it.

In addition and probably by way of Jonathan’s spiritual work, he appears to have an ability to see the world through a child’s eyes and moreover he seems to have an innate ability to speak to children and motivate them to be the best that they can be. (See also reference from the Revd Canon Dr David Kennedy in Sec C who corroborates this.)

Annette and Jonathan have realistic expectations about fostering and I am confident that they will manage the competing demands, whilst continuing to safeguard and promote the welfare of their own three birth children.

Annette will be the main carer however Jonathan’s work is flexible and therefore he will be fully integrated into the fostering task.

As a couple, they fully understand that the needs of a Looked After Child have to be prioritised however both are of the view that together, they will be able to meet those needs.

Annette and Jonathan were able to take on board that Looked After Children may need additional support when they are placed, as often, they can be behind their peers in terms of their behaviour and development.  Annette is a very warm and nurturing woman who is resilient and very sympathetic towards children who have suffered abuse and trauma in their own lives.  Jonathan’s patience, encouragement & spiritual expertise will also be an asset to children and young people who are stuck or perhaps having difficulty in managing their emotions or expressing themselves to adults.  Both I feel, will be able to see the world through a child’s eyes and with professional support from their SSW, I feel that they will be able to meet the child’s current and ever changing needs as well as be able to promote their welfare in accordance to their care plan.

I found Annette and Jonathan to be skilled in communication and both maintain a non-judgemental and child centred approach.  They are also an active family and both continue to encourage their own children to participate in constructive leisure activities, which in turn, will build up a child’s self-esteem as well as help them to initiate and sustain positive relationships with their peers. This support will be significant and paramount to a Looked After Child and in certain circumstances, a real life changer.

Furthermore, All three boys are open to sharing their home as well as their parents, so I do not anticipate any problems that cannot be resolved at a very early stage of concern.  Annette and Jonathan were also previously approved as foster carers with an IFA so they do have some knowledge & experience of the competing demands of fostering, as well as some of the issues that can arise as a result of looking after other people’s children.

Annette and Jonathan have an extremely good insight into the components that make up our sense of identity, or describe who we are as a person.  Both are attuned to their children and I would say to others as well and in addition, I found them both to be open to new ideas and able to take advice on board.  Given all of Jonathan’s worldly experience, he never once thought of himself as ‘knowing everything’ or interrupted when others were speaking about their views, even if they were more simplistic.

I have no concerns in this area of practice and I am confident that they will be more than capable of meeting the needs of a Looked After Child placed with them in terms of their identity.  Both have addressed issues of diversity during their lives and I am confident that they will be able to support a child to address any issues of diversity that may arise whilst they are placed in their care.

Annette and Jonathan are a very warm & secure couple who always maintain clear communication as well as clear boundaries for their children. Therefore, I am confident that if fostering children was starting to affect their relationship they would both be able to discuss this at a very early stage in order to address any difficulties they may be experiencing.

Their day to day lifestyle is very suitable for Looked After Children and I would anticipate only minor changes following a child being placed with them.  This I feel would be around the school runs.

Annette and Jonathan are aware of the commitments around contact arrangements and both feel that this is a very significant part of the child’s life.  During the assessment, both were able to ascertain the importance of maintaining relationships for children in care and I feel that this is something that Annette & Jonathan will do well.  

A fostered child will have a positive experience of family life and a very warm welcome when they arrive at placement. 

I am confident that a ‘fostered child’ will have a positive experience of family life as well as feeling the security of their ‘stickability’ as individuals as well as a secure family unit.

Annette and Jonathan have a broad range of experience of caring for children from the ages of 0-18 years. 

I believe that they have the appropriate knowledge and skills to provide placements to all of our Looked After Children, as well as our adolescents. 

Furthermore, during their first year of practice they will develop the confidence needed to support children with more complex needs as I firmly believe that they have the skills to manage this.

In addition to the above and by way of their nature, I am of the view that Annette and Jonathan will be able to manage the needs of children who have a learning disability or children that have suffered abuse & neglect.  Both were very insightful during skills to foster training and both have had previous fostering experience so they are not entering this process wearing rose tinted glasses.

Annette and Jonathan were able to recognise symptoms of abuse during training as well as within the assessment process.

Annette and Jonathan have a healthy attitude towards training as well as further developing their skills as carers, so I am confident that as their experience grows and their children get older, they will also be able to work with traumatised children who are displaying anti-social / oppositional type behaviours.  Furthermore, I feel that Jonathan’s spiritual pathway and certainly his patience will be an asset when working with traumatised children & adolescents.

Annette and Jonathan are aware of the importance of promoting contact arrangements for Looked After Children and both, are fully committed to promoting these arrangements in line with the child’s current care plan.  Annette was very compassionate when we discussed contact arrangements stating ‘can you imagine how a child would feel if they thought they would never see their family again’.

Annette was also insightful into some of the reasons why contact might be difficult for a child i.e. they feel like they are betraying or being disloyal to a parent and what she could do to help minimise a child’s distress over these arrangements. 

We spoke about defining roles i.e. child led and allowing the child to make
decisions for example about what name they would like to refer to you as and to also be aware that this may change depending on where the child is i.e. in the school playground it may feel easier to the child to just say ‘bye mum’ etc.

Jonathan is also a very creative thinker so if the child needed additional support or perhaps some quality one to one time for reflection or fun, I believe that Jonathan would easily fit that role.  Furthermore, if a child was in their care around Christmas time or a time of personal or cultural celebration, I am confident that Annette and Jonathan would make an enormous effort to help the child celebrate in the face of any adversity.

 I have experienced Annette and Jonathan as being warm, loving and open people who genuinely appear to want to make a difference to a child’s life.  Annette is very transparent and filled with love for children whilst Jonathan is always seeking to promote opportunities, including facilitating a sense of adventure that will help them to grow and develop alongside their peer groups.

Annette and Jonathan also understand the importance of Looked After Children maintaining links with their birth family and friends and both are willing to facilitate these arrangements. Annette and Jonathan both drive and there are two cars in the family so practically, I do not envisage any problems with managing contact.

Finally, Annette and Jonathan have very good interpersonal skills and I am confident that they will be able to work with birth families, even if difficulties arise.  Jonathan has a good understanding of conflict management and he would be able to de-escalate a situation, as would Annette in order to minimise the harm or conflict for the child.

  Annette and Jonathan have been married for over 13 years and maintain a loving and close stable relationship. They reside in a beautiful 6 bedroom house in Welling with their three children, and their family pet, Fluffy the dog.  Jonathan also has two children, from his previous marriage.

They are a warm and caring couple who will be a stable and reliable fixture in a child’s life.  Annette and Jonathan have the qualities that we look for in foster carers as they are a flexible, transparent and realistic in their approach.   They understand that children will come to placement with emotional baggage, however I have observed their parenting styles with their own children and they are attuned and therefore, will be able to meet the needs of a child placed with them. 

Jonathan is also a spiritual person who is skilled in communication and will therefore be an asset to a child, in terms of helping them to deal with issues around separation & loss. 

As a couple, they are both accepting of others, emotionally available as well as possessing a positive parenting style approach.  Behaviour management of a Looked After Child, in my opinion should come naturally to them as it will not be too dis-similar to the way they parent their own birth children.  Supporting children to build resilience & raise self-esteem is something that I am confident about; as Annette fully understands the need for children to overcome the adversity they have experienced in order to make a successful transition to adulthood. 

Annette is a stay at home mum so she is available on a full time basis to meet the needs of the children placed.  She is a very resilient and resourceful woman who has managed to move forward in life and overcome extreme hardship and childhood trauma.  The parenting she received as a child, has not in any way impacted on her ability to display emotional warmth to her own children and moreover it has not prevented her from safeguarding & promoting her own children’s welfare.  In contrast, I believe that Annette is a loving & caring person who always places the needs of her children before that of her own. 

Jonathan remains in practice as an independent Archbishop and therefore his availability and working hours remain flexible.

Jonathan was able to share intimate details with me by way of having to discuss and explore the break-up of his marriage . Jonathan remained available to me as the assessor and ensured that he continued with the assessment process irrespective of the pain it was causing him.  Annette was fully supportive of Jonathan during this time as well as remaining engaged with me as appropriate to the assessment.  The children from his first marriage corroborated Jonathan’s version of events pertaining to him being a wonderful father.

I feel Annette and Jonathan demonstrated a real commitment to the assessment process whereby I found them to be open and honest and both; were able to continue with the process even during times of great emotional difficulty, which further evidences their ‘stickability’ as potential foster carers.

Annette and Jonathan have relevant experience as they were approved as foster carers with SFP Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) in 2000. They resigned in May 2003.

During my involvement with Annette and Jonathan, they have demonstrated good insight into the needs of Looked After Children through attending the skills to foster training as well as actively partaking in the assessment process and completing all homework assignments set.  They worked on completing sections of their record & resource book enthusiastically and both were able to reflect on their own experiences appropriately. They were able to report on ‘what do foster carers do’, including highlighting the things they believe they have to offer Looked After Children in their care.  As a couple, they were able to draw on their life experiences, comprising what have they learnt to date and what they feel they have to offer as foster carers for Bexley.  It was evident that with the appropriate support of a SSW, as well as professional training they will be able to provide a good standard of care to children who are placed with them.

I believe that a child in foster placement with Annette and Jonathan and their family, will have an inclusive, positive & nurturing experience of being in foster care. Their home is very child friendly and there are be lots of opportunities to enjoy & achieve as well as to engage in leisure activities. 

Referees describe Annette and Jonathan as being warm, kind, caring & nurturing.  Honest and reliable were also a common theme and I have to say that this has also been my experience when working with them. 

Though exploration & analysis, I have found no reason why Annette and Jonathan should not be approved as foster carers for Bexley.  Jonathan's older children, informed me that he was ‘an amazing father’.

Their strengths are their closeness as a couple, previous life experiences as well as their own parenting experiences.  In addition, they also have previous fostering experience and Jonathan’s day to day life as an Archbishop.

Their vulnerabilities as a couple are their previous actions of not working in partnership with the SFP Organisation and this area of practice in particular will be monitored closely by their allocated SSW, as well as identified as an action to be addressed in Sec F as a training need, in terms of promoting their on-going professional development.

On balance, I have thoroughly explored all concerns that were brought to my attention as the assessor; and I have found no reason why Annette and Jonathan should not be able to foster.

Therefore, I have no reservations in recommending that the panel approve Annette and Jonathan as foster carers for Bexley Local Authority.

I recommend that Annette and Jonathan be approved as foster carers for Bexley, to care for 1 child (2 if siblings),  either gender from 0 – 18 years, with a preference of age 4-11 years.   Short-term, Emergency, Bridging or Respite Placements.

Annette &; Jonathan would also like to be considered for a long term placement in the future; and they are aware that this means a commitment to the child/young person post 18 years.


Facebook comments in reaction

  • Lesley Dennis My advice to you And Annette is thAt you try a private fostering agency and continue to expose the prejudices of the local authority
    .the decision to reject you is unbelievable
    13 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1
  • Bishop Blake Thank you dear Lesley. xx
    12 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Maria Kiteria amem nao entendo essa letrasSee Translation
  • Lesley Dennis Or you could try a neighbouring authority ..I am still in shock and would not be surprised if you did not want to give up..but hang on in there xx
  • Martyn Jinks Two people of great respect and especially your reputation Bishop I am truly shocked and annoyed that two upstanding members of society have been's a shocking shame that the children are clearly missing out....part of my ministry is Chaplain to the CAHMS and I know the need for foster parents grows per day.....I pray that the panel reconsider the decision. Fr Martyn
  • Bishop Blake Thank you for these comments Martyn.
  • Christopher Morgan My dear Jonathan, I am SO very sad to hear this. I cannot think of anyone, and that includes Annette, that I would trust the care of children to. You are both inspirational parents who afford so many opportunities that most parents can only dream of . With love and prayers to you both.
  • Bishop Blake Thank you dear Christopher. Your words are heartening and healing.
  • Christopher Morgan They are from the heart. If I were a child in need of a home- living with you and Annette would be beyond a dream. I have seen you with my children and they love you so much. I have read your book, how to be an awesome dad and I wish I could live up to your challenge- I so hope that good sense will prevail as you have so much to give. X
  • Simon Whittaker Very sorry to hear it! 
    I would ask for a detailed report in their reasoning. 
    With the references and feedback you have shown, I would think it credible to apply to an alternative authority.
  • Bishop Blake They don't give detailed reasoning, just the briefest of points. and their system protecting points usurp the detailed and complex investigation the assessing social worker and her superiors conducted. Its a farce.
  • Frances Adam I am so sad for you but not surprised, I have recently had experience of working with Bexley social services and all I can say is how unprofessional and dangerous I found some of their child protective services to be. Their record keeping was a shamble...See More
  • Bishop Blake Thanks dear Frances. That's interesting and useful. xx
  • Nigel Dawson So sad to read, must be dissapointing for you both.
  • Bishop Blake We are disappointed for the children we could have helped. The Social Services assessor and her managers were so convinced we would be approved that they had three children waiting to place with us just before Christmas. However, we began to realise that our lives would have been taken over by the social services and that the system they operate is so flawed that it would likely only bring problems for ourselves and for our children. We met a foster carer who urged us to pull out saying Bexley were a nightmare to work with and the only reason she continued to hack it was because she needed the money. We heard of another foster carer who had been placed under investigation by Social Services for the most ludicrous reason and her and her family were going through hell and all because they had just wanted to help. All in all, we think on consideration we have been saved from making a mistake and can now take our social concern and our desire to help to safer outlets.
  • Vivienne Lacey my beautiful cousin Annette is the most caring nurturing snd most beautiful person in the world. She is like my big sister and even though I am on the other side of the world, I know what s fantastic mum and dad you both are. any child would be lucky to be part of your family. I love you all


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