John DeGarmo, Ed. D. is a leading expert in the foster care field and the author of the recently released must have foster care resource, (ITALIC)Faith & Foster Care: How We Impact God’s Kingdom (New Hope Publishing). DeGarmo shares insight into how all of us, and particularly the church community, can provide support to the approximately 400,000 children in the United States who are in the foster care system and impact God’s Kingdom.
How are churches being called to care for children in foster care? “Not everyone is called to be a foster parent. As you know, not everyone has the skills to bring children into their home and care for those in need. Yet, everyone can help a child in foster care, the foster parents, and even the birth parents who are struggling. To be sure, we are all given different skills and talents. For some, these talents might be to care for children in their own homes on a day to day basis. For others, it might be to support those who care for them, while others might be given the resources to share. The Bible is quite specific on the gifts of talents and abilities. God is indeed calling us to care for His children in need.”
What are some of the ways the church can help children in foster care? “Today’s churches have a tremendous mission opportunity before them; the mission to help children in foster care. Sadly, with roughly 500,000 children in foster care in the United States, the need is so very strong. Yet, with the help of the church, these children can finally find the help, support, and love they so desperately crave, and so very much deserve. Perhaps there is a church in your area that is looking for a way to minister to others. Maybe your own church is seeking ways to reach out to those in need. Hosting a local foster parent association and support group is one such way a church can serve foster parents. Another way is serving as a location for family visitations. Churches can provide a safe, consistent, warm, and inviting atmosphere for children and birth family members to meet during visitation sessions. Indeed, not only can this be a form of outreach for a church, but the message of love and forgiveness is also being practiced, as well. Brand new suitcases for a child who is moving into a foster home, or even back home is another option. These are just a few of the ways a church can help.”