Norwich social worker places a million children
A new book from Hodder and Stoughton tells the story of Robert Glover, whose Norwich-based charity Care for Children has placed a million children in families in China and beyond.
As many as the stars tells the story of how he moved with his wife and six young children from the UK to China to follow his calling.
Robert Glover was a submariner and then a footballer before he settled into a career as a social worker caring for difficult teenagers in Norfolk. Since childhood he nurtured a dream to visit China and his dream developed into a vision: to help the many children who have been abandoned into orphanages across China as an unintended consequence of the One Child Policy.
He first visited China in 1996, and in 1998 moved to Shanghai with his family and founded the charity Care for Children, which pioneered family placement as an alternative to institutional care. When the charity was launched, there wasn’t a word in Mandarin for foster care. In conversations with the Chinese government Robert demonstrated that family-based fostering and adoption was a better alternative to the system of state-sponsored orphanages.
His charity has now reached its goal of getting one million children fostered or adopted, which is 85% of the children in the state-run institutions in China. It has since expanded into Thailand and Vietnam.
An independent evaluation of the pilot project in Shanghai by the University of East Anglia concluded that it was one of the best foster care projects in the world, and in 2003 this led to an invitation from the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Beijing to expand the project nationally. In 2005 Robert was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for services to orphans and vulnerable children in China.
Told with humour and simplicity As Many as the Stars gives a deeper understanding of the importance of families and how to live with greater compassion, generosity and courage.
Robert now works as an adviser at conferences, events and consortia around the world. A feature documentary entitled Children of Shanghai has been made about his work, narrated by Bear Grylls.
In his endorsement of the book, Bear Grylls writes: “A determined man can overcome all obstacles. Robert Glover OBE is a friend and a true hero of mine. Lives in Asia have been greatly impacted by having a loving, local family to call their own.”
As Many as the Stars will be released by Hodder and Stoughton on October 15, price £16.99 hardback.
You can read a story about Care for Children’s expansion in China and Thailand here.