The online journal Shared Justice – produced by the excellent team at the Center for Public Justice – carries a great article on the significant growth of Christian involvement in caring for foster youth.
[See “Fostering Change: Recent Partnerships Give Hope to Children in Foster Care.” The article describes:
…both government and the church have vital roles to play.
“Government plays the justice role that God gave to it to protect children from severe neglect and abuse… and there’s really no other institution in society that can play that role…At the same time, government makes a terrible parent.”
Children need loving, committed homes to provide an environment in which they can thrive, and that’s something the government can’t do on its own… The church, though, can help to fill the relational void….
One Washington, DC based nonprofit has made connecting church families with foster care agencies its core mission. DC127 launched in March 2013 with plans to “reverse the foster care list in DC”. With 1,300 children in the District’s foster care system and over 600 churches in the area, the nonprofit is adamant that the number of families waiting to foster and adopt should outnumber the number of children who need a home.
“We’re part of a bigger movement of saying the church can be a leader in this, and that the church has the ability to respond to this crisis and to actually do something about it to see tangible results,” said Chelsea Geyer, project coordinator at DC127.
… Geyer emphasized that strong families are key in a child’s development.
Geyer said that one of DC127’s priorities is to ensure a support network within churches when a family is ready to foster or adopt. Whether it’s offering to make meals for the family, providing childcare, or simply visiting with the family, Geyer said there are numerous ways to help. This is especially true for young adults who aren’t in a position to foster or adopt, but who feel called to be involved.
“We really focus on uniting the church around recruiting and supporting foster children,” she said. “Kids need strong families, and families need strong communities to support them.”