Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…
– James 1:27
For Richmond, in partnership with Virginia’s Kids Belong, is working to engage 100+ churches who will work collaboratively to care for some of our community’s most vulnerable children and young adults, as well as their birth parents. Fostering isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of the solution.
THE ISSUE FACING OUR COMMUNITY
are currently in the foster care system in Metro Richmond as of January 2019
89% of young adults
are addicted, homeless, incarcerated or pregnant within 2 years of aging out of foster care
179 young adults
will age out of the system this year without the support of a forever family
THE SOLUTION FOR OUR CHURCHES:
Engaging with the issue starts with a church devoting a full or partial sermon to the topic.
Next, host a follow-up meeting during which you can identify and form a ministry team.
Finally, provide members and other volunteers clear pathways for engagement.
Six simple ways to get involved:
Invest in Birth Parents
Birth parents can sometimes be invisible in foster care and adoption conversations but it’s critical that churches support and build relationships with birth parents.
Become a Licensed Foster Family
Richmond has a shortage of foster families. Departments of Social Services are especially in desperate need for foster families who take older kids, sibling sets or kids with special needs.
Pursue Foster to Adopt
Over 60% of parents who adopt out of foster care do so because they were the child(ren)’s foster family first.
Support Foster and Adoptive Families
Only 50% of foster families last more than a year. One of the best ways a church can improve that is by surrounding families who foster with practical supports – from bringing meals after a child is placed to giving parents a night out.
Embrace Social Workers
Social workers are the first responders to kids in crises and see more trauma in a day than most of us see in our lifetimes. Churches can encourage these workers by hosting appreciation events and other activities.
Invest in Aged-Out Youth
One of the greatest needs in Richmond is for caring individuals to come alongside young adults who are aging out of the foster care system. You can mentor a foster child through several organizations.
Step one: Learn about the issue
Step Two: Sign up to access the VKB Faith Leaders Toolkit
Step Three: Attend a Next Steps Training
Virginia’s Kids Belong is a nonprofit that is mobilizing government, faith-based, business and creative leaders around the goal of permanency and belonging for every child. For Richmond is pleased to serve as a strategic partner in mobilizing and equipping the faith community in Metro Richmond. Please visit VKB’s website for even more depth about this important issue.
Check with your local church to see if they are committed to helping solve Richmond’s foster care crisis.
If they’re not involved and you want to learn more, please contact us.