A Guide to Foster Care Ministry in 2017 – Part Four
Feb 9, 2017 by Jonathan Reid
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow, but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 3:9-12, ESV).
Did you know that there is a significant burnout rate for foster families?
Did you know that in many states more foster families are “retiring” than are being replaced by new foster families?
Without question, retention and recruitment are chronic problems in the foster care community.
Why? Because fostering is one of the most difficult paths a person will ever travel! The variety of stressors can be overwhelming…and often are.
SO, one of the most meaningful ways you can serve the foster care community in 2017 is by providing the kind of tangible support that foster families so desperately need. Of course, this begs the question, “How?”
First, you can personally find a foster family within your sphere of life and love on them.
- Understand them. Research some of the specific stressors unique to foster families and empathize with them.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Seek them out.
- Be specific. Don’t make vague offers such as, “Let me know how if you need anything.” Instead, discover ways you can serve them and make concrete suggestions to them. For example:
- I am committing to regularly pray for you. I will be checking in once a week for any new prayer needs.
- I am going to make one meal a month for your family. What night of the month would be most helpful?
- Are your babysitting needs being met? I will be happy to babysit for you or help recruit safe, trustworthy babysitters for you.
- Do you need any help with transportation for your children or foster children?
- Be dependable. Don’t offer help and fail to follow through. Don’t offer consistent help and then fade away after a month or two! Persevere.
- Recruit a team. Get other friends or church members involved to help share the load.
Second, you can help organize a robust support ministry within your local church community. In fact, if your church is going to develop a sustainable culture of foster and adoptive care, an informed, organized, and vibrant support network is vital! This should be in place whether you have one foster family or dozens. The very act of organizing and implementing such a ministry will only help encourage more foster families within your community.
If you need help thinking through what this could look like within the context of your church, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to help…because after all, two are better than one!