|photo by epnichols|
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 what we need to fix the problem.
One community at a time,