25 Jan We Can All Do Something
Did you know?
There are currently over 5,700 children in foster care in the state of Alabama, but only 2,360 foster homes (AL DHR).
Up to 50% of foster parents stop fostering in their first year (nyfi.org).
What can you and I do to help? First, we need to have a basic understanding of the kids in foster care and the families who care for them.
Every child who comes through the child welfare system has experienced some kind of trauma. It is the very reason they end up in the system. Regardless of the exact cause – physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, etc. – the fact that a child has been removed from their home causes trauma.
This means that every child placed in every foster home brings baggage. Through no fault of their own, these children experience loss that they are unprepared to handle. Children in foster care who have experienced loss exhibit all kinds of behaviors related to that trauma. Those behaviors impact how they are able to connect with and settle into their foster families.
Foster families are there to help provide safety and security while decisions are made about the future of the children in their care. The end goal (and hope!) is reunification. It is almost always best forchildren to be placed back with the parents once necessary changes have been made in the home to allow for safety and security there.
In the meantime, foster families are tasked with loving, encouraging, supporting, providing for, and taking care of children who often have exceptional needs. Many times, the foster families do not feel equipped to handle those needs and don’t know how to find the resources they need to become equipped. When this happens, they may become overwhelmed and give up.
Up to 50% of foster parents make the decision to do just that. They choose to stop fostering. Fewer foster parents means a less safe places for children in the welfare system to go when their own living situations require them to be removed. We want to help change that statistic.
There is a solution.
Foster Coalition has partnered with Promise686, an organization who mobilizes church communities to care for vulnerable children. Through this partnership, we aim to help recruit new foster parents as well as care for those already fostering. When foster families have the support they need, they are less likely to become overwhelmed and opt out. Having long term foster parents creates more stability and security for the children inthe system.
When the basic needs of safety, stability, and security are met, children have the opportunity to thrive rather than just survive. Every child deserves to have that chance. Making sure foster families are supported is crucial to making sure that happens.
With the help of Promise686, the lay leaders are able to identify the needs of each foster family in their care and find people who have a calling to help. Those serving may do anything from mowing grass, providing meals, or babysitting, to becoming a prayer partner or mentoring an older foster child. There are so many ways to support a family who is fostering.
We can all do something.
If you are interested in learning more about:
- becoming a foster parent
- supporting a foster family
- becoming a mentor
- having a foster ministry in your church
- connecting with an existing foster ministry
Foster Care Resources in Birmingham, Alabama
- Alabama Baptist Children Home
- Department of Human Resources
- Children’s Aid Society of Alabama
- Agape for Children
- Second Shift – aging out
- Created Ministries – aging out