2011 Kickoff: Don't Do Foster Care
An open letter from the CEO.
Dear FaithBridge Community,
At FaithBridge, our vision is to change the way America does foster
care. We believe Christian families are uniquely qualified in
Christ to bring Hope to the homes of the broken and hurting in the
foster care system. We believe there is a family for every child in
foster care and an opportunity for every family with a child in the
system to partake in a redemptive community-the local church-and to
hear His message of Hope. And thanks to you the message is coming
across loud and clear.
Foster care was never intended to
be a long-term solution. However, today the fact is too many
children still remain in foster care for years, and still too many
remain until age eighteen--left to launch into a world of unknowns,
unequipped to navigate the complexities of life alone. FaithBridge
is changing that fact. In the past 42 months, FaithBridge's
Communities of Care served more than 200 children, while 27 were
adopted by their FaithBridge family and 88 children returned home
to their birth parents. The average length of stay for FaithBridge
children before returning to their birth family is approximately
200 days - less than a year.
No child should grow up in foster
care. Every child deserves a family. FaithBridge still believes
there is a family for every child. We also realize that parenting
is difficult and parenting someone else's children can be even more
difficult. Recently, one of our church partners said "the vision
for our church foster care ministry is that some people would do a
lot, meaning foster, and others would do little, like volunteer to
support those who foster. But if everyone does something, we can
eliminate the foster care crisis". We couldn't agree more. Our
desire is that you--our foster families, volunteers and ministry
leaders--will never feel like you're doing foster care alone.
The FaithBridge strategy is
We're still learning how to be
great at delivering on the FaithBridge promise, but hold fast to
our vision and strategy.
We desire to serve you as you serve
children and families. We realize that for you, foster care is a
calling not a cottage industry. Your dedication inspires us to
continue listening to you so we grow in our ability to better serve
your family. We aim to continually discover how to make fostering
simpler. Fostering will never be easy. But we can reduce the
bureaucracy and increase family support.
This year we will designate
additional resources to assure that relief care is available to
every FaithBridge foster family at least once a month. We will
dedicate additional volunteer and professional resources in all
partnering churches to provide increased support for
transportation, babysitting, child mentoring, outreach to birth
parents and help with additional goods and services with hopes of
providing the best experience possible for foster parents,
volunteers and county DFCS staff.
At FaithBridge, ministry does not
end when children return home or are adopted. While children are in
care, we are committed to reaching out to birth parents to help
them with physical, material and spiritual needs. Foster care
ministry is an opportunity for the church to share the love of
Jesus to children and their families in need. Some children will
not return to their parents and will need a permanent family. When
that's the case, FaithBridge is committed to finding an extended
family member, adoptive family or permanent custody agreement.
Your faithful service is changing
the lives of many children and families with the Hope of the
Gospel. Your foster care journey provides great insight to a
purpose-driven life. The feedback your life provides to all of us
who see your selfless service and joyful hope for your children
inspires all of us.
We will continue to ask for your
feedback as to how we can continue to simplify fostering, improve
training and increase foster family support. The FaithBridge team
will continue to increase our performance by cutting through the
red tape, coordinating professional and volunteer services for
children and moving children quickly to permanent family
relationships in their best interest.
Working together, the future is
filled with hope for children. We see a day when there is a
Christian family available to serve every child and family in need.
We see a day when children will remain in a FaithBridge family only
a short time before a permanent family solution is achieved. We see
a day when children leave DFCS to return home, be adopted or enter
another permanent solution, while their natural family is
surrounded by a supportive group of caring and equipped Christians
who come alongside them as burden barriers in their journey.
We will work closely with you, our
church partners, Community of Care advocates, resource coordinators
and volunteers to develop church specific detailed plans to recruit
equipment and support foster families and volunteers to make the
Community of Care model a greater reality for every foster parent
Together, we're changing the way
America does foster care - One Family, One Church, One
Community, One State at a Time. May the God of hope fill you
with His joy and peace, as you put your trust in him for renewed
strength to continue the journey of foster care ministry in
For the least, the last and the
Bill Hancock, CEO