The ALL IN for FOSTER ADOPTION Challenge: The Goal and Strategies for Serving Waiting Kids
Today there are over 125,000 youth in the foster care system. Many have never known the security of a loving home and often must wait for over three years for permanency. While others are shuttled between a multitude of homes; the number of placements sometimes soaring into the double digits. One can only imagine what the lasting impact might be on a child who has never known the safety of a loving family. And what about the strain on our communities overall? Sex-traffickers that prey on these children, increased homelessness, and incarceration are seemingly inevitable due to lack of guidance and substantial gaps in education. These bleak, cultural realities stand in contrast to the mission of the church – to care for those in need.
What can the local church do? They can go “All IN.”
What’s at Stake?
When asked what’s at stake for kids who aren’t placed in permanent, loving homes, Alex Olson, an ALL IN for FOSTER ADOPTION Challenge Team Member whose own forever family fostered over 110 youth over time, said, “I had a friend in the system who took his own life at 11 years of age. And many young people I know have had similar experiences. It really is our lives that are at stake.”
Human lives made in the image of God are what’s at stake.
The “ALL IN” Goal: Forever Families
When it comes to CityServe’s Orphan initiative, The ALL-IN for FOSTER ADOPTION Challenge is our greatest asset. Created by former Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services – Administration for Children and Families, and now CityServe Vice President of Children and Youth Initiatives, Lynn Johnson, The ALL-IN for FOSTER ADOPTION Challenge mission is to find “forever families,” for every waiting child or teen in the foster care system.
In a March panel discussion with three former foster youth who are now partners in the ALL IN for FOSTER ADOPTION Challenge, Trent Taylor of North Carolina expressed urgency regarding the desperate need for permanency and forever families,
“What we need…is a quicker path to permanency. Whether that be by reunification or adoption. It is just so harmful for the child’s development every time they have to move, it hinders their ability to attach. Even just a year in the system is traumatic.”
Inspiring God’s People to Action: Strategies for Prevention and Communal Support
61% of children removed from their homes are removed due to the consequences of poverty. What would it mean then, if the church stepped in to fulfill its role in ministering to the poor? And if poverty is a major risk factor associated with child abuse, then what would it look like for the church to step in with job training or a love offering to help relieve some of the pressure on low-income households?
Our strategy to find forever families for waiting children include:
- Increase Awareness
- Recruit Forever Families
- Finding Homes for Special Needs Children
- Mentors for Foster Youth
- Public Relations
At CityServe we believe that the church has been entrusted with a faith that moves mountains and that adoption can and must happen for every child. We also believe that the church can be the catalyst for a quicker path to permanency and forever homes for America’s kids. Join us in making the belief a reality. Read the full story and commit to being “ALL IN” at www.cityserve.us.
By Crissy Sanchez-Cochran, Director of Communications