There is a phrase we often say: “Not everyone can be a foster parent; but everyone can help a child in foster care.” I think many people see the plight of kids in care and have a heart to help, but because they can’t imagine becoming a licensed foster home, they immediately count themselves out of the running. But there are a million different ways to care for kids in care… and all of them count. Obviously, we need more licensed foster parents. We also need wrap around care for current foster parents so they don’t burn out. And wrap around care for families of origin, to assist and support them in getting kids back home. And how about caring for and supporting the social workers who are daily doing all of the above. The tighter you zoom in, the more options present themselves.

Here are 12 ways your church can help foster care. They are practical, helpful ideas that may not be the first thing you think of. But all of these things make a huge difference in the lives of kids in care, as well as the adults caring for them.

  1. Offer a welcoming room in your facility for supervised parent visits.
  2. Prepare a meal on the first night of a child’s placement.
  3. Lend a hand to foster parents attending court dates by providing help with biological kids.
  4. Collect new clothing/shoes for teen/pre-teen foster children (see Teen & Kid Closet or Mission Community Outreach Center).
  5. Create a support group for foster parents in your area.
  6. Host a Foster Parents Night Out to give foster parents a needed break.
  7. Interview a foster parent in a Sunday morning service.
  8. Begin a donation closet (pillows, beds, blankets, etc.) for the immediate needs of kids (you could partner with Embrace Washington on this one).
  9. Invite DCYF to use space at your facility to conduct trainings for families, workers, and the community.
  10. Plan a baby shower for a new infant placement.
  11. Arrange for domestic help – cleaning or rides – before a “home” visit or new placement.
  12. Throw a “THANK YOU” party for social workers in your area.

Some of the items on this list are already happening in Spokane and you can simply step into the already moving stream. A first step might be to find out if you already have foster parents in your church or network. And Spokane127 is here to help you get started with ideas, training, networking, and more. Feel free to reach out to start that conversation with us.

Romans 15:1-2 encourages us to use our strength on behalf of the weak. Let’s start to bring our resources as healthy adults with strong support networks to bear for those with less. We know God’s heart cares for the cause of vulnerable kids and fragile families (see James 1:27). Let EACH of us follow that heart, in small AND big ways, and transform all the “not enough”s into more than enough.

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