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2011 Kickoff: Don't Do Foster Care Alone

 

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 clear:

  • Make fostering simple,
  • Promote personal spiritual growth and family enrichment and
  • Deliver unparalleled volunteer support to Christian foster families through the local church.

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 in 2011.

 

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 2011.

 

For the least, the last and the lost...

 

Sincerely,

 

Bill Hancock, CEO