Twenty-nine scriptures in the Bible direct us to the care of children and the orphan. When learning how to best serve the foster care population, let’s consider a holistic approach that serves all three of the following groups; birth parents, foster parents and foster children.
+ The data
1 in 2 Foster Youth drops out of High School.
33% of Foster Youth will be homeless during the first 2 years after exiting Foster Care.
60% of girls become pregnant by the age of 19 after leaving the Foster Care System.
1 in 4 Foster Youth spends time in jail.
8% of Foster Youth will graduate with a college degree.
47% of Foster Youth who age out of the system will be unemployed by the age of 24.
+ Consider this
While most pursue opening their doors to an infant, organizations across the Bay Area state that 20% of Foster Care children in desperate need of placement predominantly range from ages 12-21 years of age. There is a need for Christian families to create short to long term housing for these preteen-young adult candidates. Most candidates at this age will be placed in multiple homes during their tenure. Christians can drastically reduce multiple placements and provide positive mentoring tracks for these youth.
Additionally, nearly fifteen thousand family members of a foster care child would like us to consider helping the biological parent before they lose their child. The Department of Family Children Services states that over 80% of Foster Children can avoid entering the system every year if the church can meet the basic needs of hurting families - transportation, spiritual care, drug and alcohol counseling, mentoring and baby sitting, etc. In many cases, Foster Children find themselves in the system over the more basic gaps in care that could be easily met by a more resourced organization caring and supporting hurting families.
There are many ways to serve in the Foster Care system. Let us be open-minded, non prescriptive, and consider the many ways we can serve a biological parent, foster parent and most importantly the child in need.
+ How the church can respond
We know that there are churches and people who care and want to take action and now they can. Consider the following ways you or your church community could engage in the vast array of vetted, credible services meeting a continuum of needs.
- BIO FAMILY - Provide Drug and Alcohol Counseling, babysit during work hours, donate work/interview attire.
- FOSTER CHILD - Provide mentoring, provide after school tutoring, sign up to be a Court Appointed Advocate.
- FOSTER FAMILY - Provide meals, babysit bio children for bonding time with foster child, provide transportation.