Most anyone would tell you that the greatest need our current Washington state foster care system faces is the need for more licensed foster homes. You may have seen recent articles like this one, that talk about the prevalence of our children being taken into foster care with not enough homes to place them in, thus forcing them to spend nights at hotels, and spending days in the child welfare office.
Because of this huge need, one of the foci of the Foster Support Faith Alliance, a ministry of Light Up the City, is to empower local churches to encourage families to become foster licensed. However, our church leaders have discovered that it would be unfair for them to encourage their people to take foster children into their home, when they church itself is not equipped to handle trauma-exposed children in their church programs. (This article is a sad illustration of this common occurrence.)
So, our churches asked for resources…and we answered. This year for our annual Church Leaders Seminar, we’re bringing in professional trainers to lead us in “Becoming a Trauma-Informed Church.” On Thursday, March 14thfrom 9am-1pm at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond. Churches from all over Puget Sound are invited to hear from Ryan and Kayla North about the impacts of trauma and how it informs behavior. (This is our “pre-Refresh” conference that we have hosted over the last several years).
This eye-opening training will equip pastors, children/ youth leaders, and ministry volunteers to see how traumatic experiences, both big and small, greatly impact who we become. Church leaders will leave this workshop equipped to better serve those who have experienced trauma with a tangible plan of action to equip their church. We will discuss what trauma is, what its impacts are, and how it informs behavior along with practical tools and strategies that will help their ministry staff feel empowered to serve their children.
Ryan and Kayla North have 6 kids, 4 adopted from foster care. They are co-founders of One Big Happy Home and have developed training materials and programs for churches, schools, and parents.
To attend the Church Leader’s Conference on March 14th, please register HERE. And consider inviting your children’s pastor and/or leaders in charge of any foster parent programs with childcare at your church. Tickets are only $30 for a 4-hour seminar (normally $150!) and lunch is included.
- Mandy Neill