When I was asked a few weeks ago to write a blog for people interested in finding more information about foster care I was a little nervous. I am the first to admit that foster care, though I am an advocate of it, is an issue relatively new to me. I have friends and family who have adopted both domestically and internationally but I know few people who have been foster parents. So, I wasn’t sure where to start to provide you, the reader, with some valuable information.
I figured since my experience was limited I would ask others who have been working in this area to share their thoughts, resources and suggestions. I have gathered the very helpful information below. If you are interested in learning more about foster care or getting connected with a helpful organization the following resources should get you started on your path.
Several organizations were recommended to me. Each of them takes a strong biblical approach to caring for children in foster care and all of them typically include a variety of information to help educate those interested in this opportunity.
Bethany Christian Services. Bethany Christian Services (BCS) is a global nonprofit family preservation and child welfare organization that cares for orphans and vulnerable children on five continents. Bethany is found in more than 30 U.S. states and offers a variety of resources in various fields from counseling (pregnancy and infertility) to adoption (U.S. and international) to temporary care (foster care and safe families).
Arrow Child and Family Ministries was another good resource recommended. One of the things that stuck out for me about Arrow was there emphasis on the importance of matching kids with parents rather than placing kids where beds existed. I also noticed that Arrow has a set of training courses in the area of foster care.
Two other resources recommended were Project 1.27 and 111 Project. Project 1.27 is a program based out of Colorado with ties to several other states through their 1.27 Network. 111 Project is has chapters around the U.S. Both of these groups have a strong emphasis on working with churches. With orientations and trainings as well as other church resources like planning guides and templates for congregational engagement these groups will provide you with great resources for moving forward as a church.
One of the most helpful resources recommended was Embrace Oregon. I found this website to have lots of great ideas for engaging in foster care at various levels. For those who may not be able to actually foster a child, Embrace Oregon gives numerous others avenues for support. Such as providing Welcome boxes for children waiting in the “in-between time” when a child has been removed from his or her home, but has yet to be moved to a foster home and is waiting in a Child Welfare office. Or ideas on respite care and volunteer opportunities that help to compliment the agency. I found this website to be a valuable resource for creative and practical ideas.
Many of the websites and agencies have a form of training that they take families through but I found one specific resource that I found very interesting. ALL IN Orphan Care offers a small group study guide with curriculum on the theology of adoption, God’s heart for the marginalized and the call on the Church to care for orphans. They also have a sermon series and a ministry launch kit for churches. All great resources for a church looking to engage in orphan care.
Jason Johnson has several great posts on the issue of foster care. He works for the ALL IN Orphan Care and has written on such topics as:
- Why Foster Care is Necessary
- Orphan Care Ministry: When Your Pastor Doesn’t Get It
- Six Things Foster Care Has Taught Me
- The Greater Good of Orphan Care
- 3 Ways Orphan Care Displays the Gospel
- The Sovereignty of God in Foster Care
Jason also has various other links from his blog that may be helpful in retrieving more information.
Here are several more resources passed my way. I have not read or viewed them but they have been recommended.
- Next Steps Booklet. This resource is intended to help you move to the next step in caring for orphans wisely and well through adoption, foster care or global initiatives. Whether you are just beginning to investigate God’s heart for the fatherless, or desire to rally others in the cause, we want to help connect you to trustworthy organizations that stand ready to walk with you along this journey.
- The 7 part DVD series called: Adoption and Foster Care RX: Solutions for Wounded Families. This resource is intended to help equip families who have taken in foster children and are in need of counsel in handling difficult behavioral situations. Some of the topics are as follows:
- Disarming Difficult Behaviors
- Learning to Re-Parent
- Understanding Food & Sleep Issues
- Dealing With Lying & Stealing
- Preparing Your Teen for Adulthood
- Tag-Team Parenting
- Foster Care statistics from Christian Alliance for Orphans. Here you will find important foster care facts and figures for presentations and general information.
- Finally, on the Christian Alliance for Orphans website you will also find numerous books, articles and websites to help you in your pursuit of learning more about the foster care process.
I hope these resources leave you better informed and ready to engage, support and advocate for the foster care process. Please also let us know if you come across other great resources that you think should be added to this list. We always desire to filter and pass along good information to those interested.