Foster Families in Your Church

With an increasing number of children entering the foster care system, you will more than likely find yourself face to face with foster families in your own church. In order to provide a welcoming environment for these children and an encouragement to their new families, we would like to recommend a few helpful hints.

Realize God Cares
Scripture is filled with passages concerning the treatment of widows and orphans (Exodus 22:22, Deuteronomy 14:28–29, Psalm 68:5, Proverbs 23:10, and James 1:27, just to name a few!). God cares about those the world has forgotten. Every "practical" tip we offer stems from this fundamental truth. To be fully immersed in the mission of God, we must care, too.

Come to the Table Ready to Learn
Before you try to help foster families in your church, stop and listen. The most helpful thing you can offer is a listening ear. Ask the family what they need, listen to their concerns, and go from there. Every situation is different, and the only way to know how to help is to ask.

Provide a Safe Space
Children in these situations often come into foster families with a traumatic background. Many children simply don't know how to function in a safe environment. Provide a safe space for children to feel accepted. Don't be surprised if a child acts out. Simply remove the child from the situation and give them space. Return the child to the rest of the group as soon as they are calm again.

Allow Space for Choices
Much of what happens to children in foster care is out of their hands. Many can feel helpless and out of control of their own lives. Allow space for choices in your own setting. Give them several options for a snack, craft, or toy to play with. This empowers the child and gives them ownership of their time with you.

Pray
Keep children in foster care and their new families in your prayers. As you ask God for His guidance and direction, you are also fostering a sense of love and compassion for the people you serve. Show them this love on a daily basis and ask God to give you the strength to do it well.

 

by Zachariah Seanor

 

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