Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Helping the Foster Crisis

There is one statement I hear the most concerning foster care. “ I cannot be a foster parent but how can I help?”  I realize that being a foster family is not something everyone can do.  But everyone can help.  I learned last week that the foster population in Oklahoma topped 12,000.  The need is great and is getting worse.  The cut in our state budget has escalated the problem as adults are not getting psychiatric care nor the support of other programs that help keep families together.  The drug problem has escalated over the last couple of years in Oklahoma which leaves in its wake children who experience great neglect and abuse.  All of us should be asking the question of how we can help.  We are called to take care of the orphan and foster children are the orphans of our culture.

The state of Oklahoma has partnered with faith based organizations to help churches minister to these families in great need.  Not often does the state ask for help from churches.  They have provided a lot of ways to help us meet the needs of those the state no longer has the resources to help.  One of these initiatives is the CarePortal.  The CarePortal connects churches with DHS in order to communicate needs.  Washington County is the 4th county in Oklahoma to go live.  I am now receiving requests from local DHS workers when they have needs.  I recently got to help purchase some basic necessities for a grandmother who just took custody of her four grandchildren.  I will soon begin forwarding these requests to our LifeGroup leaders.  I hope that each of our LifeGroups will talk about how they can help and be ready to respond when a need is forwarded.  If you want to help with a specific request just reply back to me and I will work out the logistics.

Another large need for foster families is for respite.  In order for foster children to stay the night at someone’s house they must go through training and screening to be approved by DHS.  It is a hassle and takes time.  However, those with foster kids need to be able to get away for a day or two.  Fostering is mentally difficult and puts a strain on the relationships of all in the family.  There is not a better way to help than being able to give foster families time to refresh.  If there is a family emergency these foster families cannot leave the children unless they have approved respite.   We have several families in our church who foster children.  We are all givers and not good at asking for help.  I guarantee if you go through the training with DHS you will be used and you will be a huge blessing. Being a traditional foster home is not the only way to help with this huge Oklahoma crisis.  Hopefully these two options answer the question of how to help.  Thank you for your encouragement and support.  My family could not help these children without you.

1 comment:

Diwakar said...

Hello Pastor Michael. I am also a Pastor from Mumbai, india. I did send an email to you on 23rd March. HOPE you will have time to go through and respond to it. Your post on Helping the Foster Crisis is very useful. In India we have more orphanages then children being given to foster care. There is no gorvenment agency to facilitiate the foster care neither there are many Organizateions who are following foster care but with the rising problems and government's strict vigilance on christian Orphanages it is becoming difficult to run such Orphanages. Our church is in favour of giving Orphan children to the christian families for foster care. We have bot yet started but we very much would like to start this initiative. Well I love go get connected with the people of God around the globe to be encouraged, strengthened and praying for one another. I have have been in the Pastoral ministry for last 37 yrs in this great city of Mumbai, a city with a great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We richout to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the brokenheartd. We also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have young people from your church come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. I am sure they will have a life changing expereicnce. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede. LOOKING FORWARD TO HEAR from you.