A few months ago I cross-referenced the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) numbers of children in foster care with the most recent religious census done in Texas that I could find, circa 2010. Here’s what I found…
If .12% of families attending church weekly adopted a child out of foster care – there would be no children available for adoption in the system.
If .69% of families attending church weekly were certified for foster care – every foster child could be in a faith-based home and there would be a surplus of families waiting for a child to enter the system.
If 6% of families attending church weekly were certified to provide respite/babysitting care, then every foster family would have a team of 8 families to love and support them in their efforts to care for children in their home.
If you’re like me, then the numbers above seem achievable. So, why are there kids in our community that need a place to stay? Here are my thoughts:
- Lack of education and understanding regarding the need. I’ve grown up in the church and can be a bit cynical about some of the things we do and don’t do, but I truly believe that the biggest hurdle is awareness.
- Lack of structure within the church body as a whole to provide the support needed to foster families within their congregations.
- Lack of support team members to provide babysitting/respite care.
I believe if we can make some progress in the areas above we, the church, can find the families needed to solve the foster care crisis. Stay tuned for more blogs on the needed culture shift in how we view foster care, online tools being developed to help churches mobilize their congregations and more.