photo by epnichols
Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, and equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them so close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.  – Eleanor Anna Roosevelt

Getting Ideas Out:

I had the opportunity to be a part of a Foster Care think tank this past Sunday at my home church, First Baptist Woodstock.  In attendance were church staff members, foster parents, graphic designers, the partner foster agency, gifted advocates and church volunteer leaders.  It was encouraging to see the explosion of ideas generated by this group.  I think we filled up eight white boards full of creative ideas.  It is always refreshing when you know that the process will, in the end, help foster children and foster families.

Call Out the “Gaps”:

It is amazing how you can find some critical gaps when you are honest enough to stop and take a look. That’s leadership.  So, congrats FBCW.  The foster children of Cherokee County will be better off because you don’t care who gets the credit and you are willing to examine every part of the ministry in order to benefit children and families.  That’s an example worth following.

My Hometown stats:

Ann White, a great foster care advocate in our community, was gracious to provide the following statistics at our meeting.  I hope this will encourage you to investigate the needs in your community before you look around the world.

County: Cherokee County, GA
Data for Period: April 2011-March 2012

Children subject of maltreatment investigations                       878
Children removal to foster care                                                205
Zip codes within Cherokee with highest foster care entries     30102,30114,30115,30188
Average monthly removals                                                      17
Children in care on March 31, 2012                                        204
Children in care on March 31, 2011                                        145
Percentage increase 2012 over 2011                                     41%

My Church stats:

Our church’s agency partner, FaithBridge, has placed 49 children in 56 FBCW licensed foster homes since the ministry inception (about 3 years ago).  For all children served in which the cases have closed through reunification, adoption or change in placement, FBCW families have provided 12,402 days of care, equivalent to 33 years, and counting….

There have been 11 children adopted out of the foster care ministry since the inception of the ministry.

Our Community- Our Priority:

Imagine what would happen if every church began to identify the needs in their own community first.  Once there is a strategy of care in place to help meet those needs, it would then be appropriate to look around at your global potential.  We should be strategic and active in both areas.  But, we should join hands with other churches in our communities to meet the needs there first.

That’s powerful.
That’s practical.
That’s what we need to fix the problem.

One community at a time,

Steve Gillis
Founder | Executive Director