God gave the responsibility to care for the defenseless to those claiming to be followers of Christ. It is through our hands the Father’s love comes, it is through our voices His voice is heard, it is through our efforts and those of the church that His care is revealed.
- Show God’s love to foster and adopted children and families in our community. Our desire is to take part in authentic relationships in the lives of children by sharing our resources and skills to improve their quality of life and to minister to their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs;
- Equip those who respond to God’s call to foster or adopt through support before, during, and after that process;
- Educate people regarding God’s heart for the foster and adopted children in our community.
The most recent research available says that, as of 2018, there were more than 691,000 children in the United States foster care system. 60,000 are located in the state of California, and 451 are located in Butte County. About 40,000 infants are placed in foster care every year. On average, children stay in the system for almost three years before either being reunited with their families or adopted. Nearly 20 % wait five years or more. On average children have three different foster care placements. The study by the Children’s Advocacy Institute found that almost 50 California children died last year in foster care. During that same year, 117,794 children were waiting to be adopted from foster care, and 57,208 were successfully adopted from foster care.
More than 20,000 foster youths aged out of the system — meaning they were still in foster care when they legally became adults because they hadn’t been reunited with their families or weren’t placed with permanent families. Without family support and with the weight of childhood trauma, foster youths are more likely to end up incarcerated, homeless, or addicted to drugs.
However, foster kids can also grow up to achieve great success! Every foster child should have the opportunity to beat these statistics, and there are so many ways that we can help current and former foster children lead their best lives.
Are you a foster or adoptive parent? Do you know of a foster or adoptive family that could use our support? We are here to help and support you in any way we can. Please contact Karan Belmonte at 530.343.6022 Ext. 209 or email karan@efcChico.org to get started.
FOSTER & ADOPTION INFORMATION
Our ministry partner Family Solutions will provide information on the roles and responsibilities of foster/adoptive parents and the process you will need to go through to become licensed to foster or adopt. They will also share about the rewards and real challenges of fostering/adopting. They will provide you with the information you need to decide if fostering is right for your family and guide you in the next steps if you decide to move forward. Click HERE to find out more.
FOSTER & ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP
Are you a foster and/or adoptive parent? Do you want a place to connect, share experiences, pray together and encourage one another? We know foster and adoptive parents live in a unique world of state regulations, bio-parent visits and licensing guidelines as well as experience the emotions that come along with loving vulnerable children. If you are interested in joining together to gain strength and comfort from fellow believers on their journey to care for children, please contact Karan Belmonte at karan@efcChico.org.
CASA INFORMATIONAL MEETING
Becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is one of the many ways you can support foster children. You can provide a voice by seeking cooperative solutions among individuals and organizations involved in the child’s life. You can give a child the confidence that someone is still on their side and has their best interest at heart. If you are interested in helping foster children and making a real difference in their lives, join us for this informational meeting. Attending the meeting does not commit you to any decision. It only provides you with the information you need to decide if becoming a CASA is right for you and guide you in the next steps if you decide to move forward. Please contact Karan Belmonte at 530.343.6022 Ext. 209 or email karan@efcChico.org for more information.
EVERYONE CAN DO SOMETHING
Pray for the children who will lie down in an unfamiliar bed in a stranger’s home tonight. Pray for the parents who had their kids removed today. Pray for the reunification and restoration of families. Pray for healing for the kids who have lost faith in everyone and everything that was supposed to keep them safe.
Pray for the judges, attorneys, social workers, advocates, and counselors who are tasked with making potentially life-altering decisions and recommendations for children in care. Pray for the foster families who have voluntarily opened their homes to brokenness and heartache. Pray for the hearts of Americans to be broken and inflamed by the children in crisis in our country.
Because all children in foster care must be under the supervision of an adult who has been cleared by the state, foster parents can’t call a neighbor or their 17-year-old niece to watch the kids, even in an emergency. Respite care is basically any time a ward of the state (foster child) is with someone other than the foster parent, birth parent, or caseworker.
If you are an approved Children’s Ministry volunteer at EFCC, you can provide respite care. You can babysit or serve at one of the Respite Events that will be held at EFCC. Respite care can be a commitment to short-term care, in which you become licensed by the state for the occasions when foster parents need a break or a child needs a safe place to stay during a transition. It’s up to you!
Respite care can be planned in advance or urgent and can last from a few minutes to a few weeks. Requirements vary by state and agency.
Foster families need all the support they can get. Foster parenting is much more than loving on the kids (that’s the easy part). Often, it is the day-to-day hardships and complexities of working with a team of people within a government entity that is the biggest challenge.
Family visits, doctor appointments, school meetings, counseling, training, caseworker visits, emails, phone calls, reports, logs, and endless stacks of paperwork keep foster parents on their toes. A community supporting a foster family can lessen the burden. You don’t even have to be creative! Just ask if you can help with whatever it is you are good at or enjoy doing. Offer to do a particular task that you could do weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly:
- Offering to mow the lawn
- Bring a freezer meal or two
- Help with laundry
- Read with a child for 20 minutes after school twice a week because you know the nightly reading battle is wreaking havoc
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a volunteer who is authorized by the court to speak on behalf of a child in foster care. A CASA spends time with the child, gets to know him/her, and speaks with everyone in the child’s life, including foster parents, birth parents, relatives, teachers, social workers, attorneys, and medical professionals. They then take what they have learned to the judge and make recommendations in the best interests of the child. CASA’s can be a source of stability and hope in the life of a child, and many volunteers find the experience to be very rewarding.
Click HERE to download an application.
Click HERE to visit the CASA website.
Most children in foster care arrive at their first placement with little to nothing in their possession. Most foster parents spend more than the state provides, buying what the children need out-of-pocket. Child welfare agencies try to help by collecting the most needed items, such as clothing, suitcases, duffle bags, back-to-school supplies, and Christmas gifts. Whether you can give gently used items or a gift of cash, donations to foster families and/or local agency are almost guaranteed to be put to good use immediately.
If you have a heart for children in foster care, but foster parenting isn’t possible for you, you can fight for the rights and well-being of the 600,000+ in the United States foster care system by merely raising awareness of the state of the foster care system.
First, learn about where the system falls short. Then, use your voice to educate others about what you’ve learned. The children who suffer because of our collective negligence are voiceless. They need us to speak for them.
JOIN ONE OF OUR FAM TEAMS!
If you would like to be a part of FAM, please contact me at 530.343.6022 Ext. 209 or email me at karan@efcChico.org.
I would love to get you plugged into this awesome ministry!
Volunteers who generously respond to the immediate and spontaneous needs of a child and foster family on the first day of placement. Having these needs covered by the church allows foster parents the opportunity to focus on their new arrival. This could include such things as starting a meal train for dinners, providing clothing, hygiene products, diapers, etc.
Volunteers who invest regularly in the foster family and/or foster child. This is only limited by your imagination. Committing to helping a foster family for even an hour a week can be the difference in a parent barely hanging on and finding the balance they need to be their best selves for their family.
- Take a child fishing
- Take a child out for ice cream
- Read to/with a child once a week
- Help with homework
- Be a listening ear
Volunteers allow foster families opportunities for a few hours of extended respite. Providing respite care is a crucial ministry that allows foster parents a time of rest and renewal. This can be provided by individuals 18 years and older. We will, from time to time, have a respite event at the church, which will include games, crafts, songs, movies, and fun Bible teaching.
Children in foster care have had their lives disrupted in too many ways. Often foster parents stop attending church and other events because they feel their foster child could be difficult or disruptive to the group. Some children, whether foster or not, need a little extra love and attention. Bible Buddy volunteers can be anyone who has a heart to spend time with kiddos during Sunday School and/or church services.