Orphans in America
Of the 147 million orphans in the world today, approximately 500,000 are here in the United States. With such staggering numbers, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and wonder what difference one family or one person can make. If your heart is drawn to helping children here in the U.S., there are many ways to get involved!
1. Consider becoming a foster care family
While the requirements for becoming a foster parent vary slightly from county to county, the process is essentially the same. Prospective families contact their local county office and sign up to attend classes. Once the classes are finished, prospective parents will have background checks and a home study done. Upon completion, parents are ready to accept children into their home.
2. Consider adopting from the foster care system
Of the 423,773 children currently in foster care, 114,556 are legally free and waiting to be adopted into a loving home. The cost for adopting out of the foster care system is affordable. Most child welfare agencies cover the costs of home studies and court fees, and provide post-adoption subsidies. Thousands of employers offer financial reimbursement and paid leave for employees who adopt and Federal and/or state adoption tax credits are available to most families.
3. Consider starting an orphan ministry at your church.
4. Consider partnering with Safe Families
When a crisis strikes, many of us rely on relatives and our church family for support. But for some parents, there isn't a safety net. Often problems such as drug addiction, domestic abuse, incarceration, or illness can be debilitating, making it impossible for parents to care for their children. With the changing economy many more families are experiencing financial crisis, unemployment, and homelessness. During such crisis, children are especially at-risk for neglect or abuse as their parents struggle to cope with crushing circumstances and emotions. State welfare emergency hotlines throughout the nation reportedly receive over 5 million calls each year of suspected child abuse or neglect. Of those calls, about one million meet the criteria for state intervention.
What happens to the remaining four million families that don't qualify for help? Overburdened by need and restrained by resources, law and policy most state welfare agencies are allowed to rescue only children who have suffered blatant abuse or neglect. Overwhelmed and underfunded, the state is ill-equipped to deal with a problem of this magnitude. Without assistance, many of these families will find the issues in their homes escalating to episodes of abuse and/or neglect with long lasting consequences for not only the child, but also for our communities as well.
Safe Families for Children offers sanctuary to thousands of children, minimizing the risk for abuse or neglect and giving parents the time and tools they need to help their families thrive. The ultimate goal is to strengthen and support parents so they can become Safe Families for their own children.
Opportunities to Serve with Safe Families:
Volunteer families willing to open their homes to children in crises and provide a safe and loving home and family atmosphere for them on a temporary basis.
- Provide Resources:
Most children come to Safe Families with very few supplies and possessions and Host Families are not reimbursed for any expenses they incur. Therefore the donation of children's items including (but not limited to): diapers, formula, cribs, car seats, strollers, and clothing are essential.
- Professional Services:
A comprehensive network of professionals willing to provide services on a donated or discounted rate for the support of children in crisis and/or volunteer families. Doctors, dentists, hair-care professionals, handymen and house cleaners are just a few examples.
- Respite Care:
Volunteers willing to provide temporary (less than 1 day) care of children to allow volunteer families to run errands, shop, or simply get a break.
- Support Groups:
Groups of individuals providing prayer, encouragement, and support to volunteer and biological families. Examples include play groups, coffee talks, burger night, etc.
Mature Christians serving in a mentoring role to connect with biological families; assisting with and addressing the circumstances that led to their crisis.
- Case Coaches:
Volunteers who facilitate the relationship between the biological and volunteer Safe Family during a placement. Their primary focus is ensuring the well-being of the child(ren) while coordinating communications between the various agencies, Host Family, and the biological family.
5. Consider becoming a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate)
The goal of every CASA is to ensure that each child in the foster care system is placed in a safe and loving permanent home. They work with the juvenile court system to make sure that each decision made is in the best interest of these abused, neglected and /or abandoned children. The advocate is a friend, role model and often the only constant figure in a child's life. CASA volunteers work directly with key county agencies: social workers, foster parents, teachers; community resources: doctors, therapists, institutions; and legal counsel: attorneys, both for the child and for the parents. Throughout the process, the child's CASA explains to them the events that have happened, the reasons they are in court, and the roles of the judges, lawyers and social workers.
6. Consider supporting families who are adopting or who are foster parents
Bring them a warm meal
- Write a letter of encouragement
- Drop off some gently used clothing
- Give them a night out
- Offer to help fundraise- yard sales, silent auctions, donate a service- use your imagination
- Provide prayer support
7. Consider partnering with area orphan ministries
2 Corinthians 6:18, Amplified Bible
"And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My
sons and daughters", says the Lord Almighty.