//FOSTER CARE
Pray

 

  • For children in foster care to know that they are loved by God

  • For reunification to happen with biological families, and when that is not possible, for children to be quickly placed in adoptive/permanent families

  • For families within the Church to come forward and say YES to providing family to a vulnerable child or sibling group

  • For teens aging out of foster care, without a permanent family: that caring adults would come into their lives

  • For the safety of foster children, who are extremely vulnerable to sexual exploitation, that they would be protected and that God would provide incredible healing from trauma experienced 

  • For the 2,860 children who are “legally free” to find permanency and family through adoption

  • For organizations and DSHS staff to be encouraged in their work

  • For biological families who are currently separated from their children to find the resources and help needed to work toward reunification

  • For judges and lawyers making decisions regarding foster care and adoption to have wisdom

 
LEARN as a Church/ Individual

 

  • Join your local chapter of UGM’s Foster Care Support Network to learn of the specific needs coming out of your          local DSHS office region (email Maneill@ugm.org for more information).

  • Read the recent series of articles put out by KCTS9 and Crosscut: System in Crisis

  • Visit (Christian Alliance for Orphans) & join their email list.

  • Download free ebook Everyone Can Do Something by Jason Johnson.

  • Read Ten ways your church can get involved in foster care by Jason Johnson is a pastor in Texas and one of                  leading writers/speakers on church involvement in Orphan Care.

  • Small Group Curriculum: All In Orphan Care by Jason Johnson.

  • Host a foster care/ adoption information event with local agencies represented.

  • Invite a guest speaker on foster care – i.e Shannon VanderArk (from Fostering Together), Matthew Savage from      Journey Church in Everett.

  • Host a showing of the short film Removed.

  • Did you know that it’s estimated that 70% of youth who are commercially sexually exploited in Seattle have    spent time in the foster care system, but never found permanency? If your church is passionate about Anti-trafficking ministries, please consider foster care support as a preventative approach.

 

 

 
Care For Foster/Adopted Children

 

  • Learn what kids in foster care want you to know.

  • Individual

  • Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care.

  • Volunteer with Office Moms and Dads: An on-call, flexible daytime volunteer opportunity to care for a child or    sibling group in the DSHS office while they’re awaiting placement.

  • Become a host family with Safe Families. Safe Families creates homes that host vulnerable children before they have to be removed from their homes and placed in foster care. They’re committed to keeping children safe so that families can get help and ultimately be reunited.

  • Volunteer at Brave Girls Event – May 20, 2017. This is a one-day catalyst event for connection and conversation with foster girls (ages 12-17), who are the most vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. This is a day when volunteers pour love and a sense of worth into these girls and the follow up is an opportunity for them to continue in affinity-based small groups with mentors.

  • Volunteer at a 72-hour care shelter for foster children just entering care and awaiting foster home placement. Hand in Hand ministry's Safe Place in Everett or Amara Sanctuary in South Seattle and Tacoma. 

  • Church/ Small Group

  • Host a Care Box Drive. Care Boxes provide a foster child just coming into care with age-specific essentials for their first 24 hours in care: a photo-storage size box containing underwear/socks, toiletries, flashlight & nightlight, snacks & toys/activities. Email MaNeill@ugm.org for the Care Box packing list.

  • Host a Donation drive for new kid’s clothing, PJ’s, duffle bags or stuffed animals/toys. (sizes larger than 5T especially needed!)

  • Host a seasonal donation drive- fall: school supplies and school clothes; winter: coats and Christmas presents.

  • Promote volunteer recruitment for Office Moms & Dads or Safe Families within your congregation.

  • Provide storage at your church for these donated supplies for children. Or provide volunteers to regularly clean the donation areas of your local DSHS office.

  • Recruit specialized foster parents to take in children with behavioral difficulties or CSEC homes (homes for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children). Then, as a church, commit to providing wrap-around services for these foster families.

 
Support Foster/Adoptive/Bio Parents
  • Offer tangible support to foster parents in your church or community. Ideas include: taking them a meal, offering childcare, running errands, etc…

  • Volunteer at or host a Foster Parent Support Group. Fostering Together support groups meet once a month all over the state and often need outside groups to help cook dinner or provide childcare.

  • Host a Foster parent Bible Study/ Support Group. Small Group Curriculum: All In Orphan Care by Jason Johnson.

  • Host a Foster Parent Night/ Day Out. Provide a space and volunteers to entertain foster children so that foster parents might get some child-free time. Background checks through Fostering Together required. Consider making these a regular event for volunteers to build relationships with the children attending.

  • Start a “Generous Email List” with your local DSHS office. When foster or bio parents have a tangible need (i.e. a bed in order to take in another foster child, etc…the need is emailed out to the Generous List to see if anyone can meet the need.

  • Support Biological Parents – Read this article to learn more about how some churches are supporting Bio parents.

  • Bio parent support- mentorship relationships with bio parents who have just had their children reunified to their care. Offer life skills training or other resources (i.e. recovery, parenting classes, financial training,etc…) at your church for bio parents.

  • Get involved with FAR (Family Assessment Response). FAR is a CPS pathway where Children's Administration social workers connect families with community services to keep children safe, preserve families, and prevent further involvement with child welfare systems. Services might include home and auto repairs, babysitting, tutoring and mentorship, transportation, etc..

 
Encourage Children's Administrative Workers
 

Church/ Small Group

  • Host a DSHS Children’s Administration Appreciation event: provide lunch, or coffee and treats, etc.. for employees. Or deliver flowers, hand-written cards or gift cards to each employee.

  • Adopt a donation closet and periodically organize it.

  • Host a Care Box Drive. Care Boxes provide a foster child just coming into care with the age—specific essentials for their first 24 hours in care: a photo-storage size box containing underwear/socks, toiletries, flashlight & nightlight, snacks & toys/activities. Email Mandy Neill for the Care Box packing list.

  • Host a Donation drive for new kid’s clothing, PJ’s, duffle bags or stuffed animals/toys. (sizes larger than 5T especially needed!)

  • Clean or paint child waiting rooms. Provide donated toys/ DVDs, etc… for OMD rooms.

  • Provide nonperishable snack items, diapers, baby bottles for children awaiting care in the office. 

  • Individual 

  • Volunteer as an Office Mom or Dad:  an on-call, flexible daytime volunteer opportunity to care for a child or sibling group in the DSHS office while they’re awaiting placement. This frees social workers up to work on finding a foster home placement for the child!

Become a Foster Parent

The greatest need in child welfare is foster and adoptive parents. Prayerfully consider if God is calling you to provide family to a vulnerable child in foster care. Over 10,000 children will spend time in foster care in the state of Washington this year.    

Visit “Fostering Together” for a wealth of resources and information on private agencies, support groups , trainings, and so much more.

  

  • Become a Licensed Foster or Adoptive Parent  

  • Become a licensed Respite provider. Provide short-term foster care (usually a weekend or week-long) in your home. Can provide respite in foster family’s home without being licensed.

  • Become a licensed “launch pad” home. Provide a home for a teen who is about to transition out of care and into adulthood and independent living.

  • Become a licensed CSEC home (Commercially Sexually Exploited Children). It’s estimate that 70% of the youth who are sexually exploited in Seattle have spent some time in foster care. There is always a need for licensed foster homes to take in foster youth who have been sexually exploited and need stability and healing. 

 

Foster Care Agencies