It’s great to see innovative state and county governments increasingly partner with churches in caring for foster youth. Although church-state rules require clear partnership guidelines, there’s a growing recognition that government agencies can readily partner with churches in ways that preserving the distinctives of both. Most importantly, they’re seeing that committed churches can make a tremendous difference for kids via adoption, foster care and mentoring. As Dr. Sharen Ford, who oversees Colorado’s state foster adoption programs, says of churches, “We have the kids, they have the families.”
A new and exciting initiative on this front is Oklahoma’s 8046 Campaign. 8046 is the number of waiting children in the state’s foster system as of January 2, 2011. The campaign’s goal is to bring that number as close to zero as possible through a vibrant partnership of the State with churches and faith-based agencies, including Alliance member Arrow Child & Family Services. 8046 will be hosting a statewide conference to train churches and families on October 27 in Broken Arrow, OK. Learn more at http://111project.org. And if you live in Oklahoma, consider getting your church involved (conference registration at www.faithlinks.org).