FOSTER AND ADOPTION MINISTRY
God sets the lonely in families.Psalm 68:6
There are an estimated 428,000 children in the American foster care system. Of these, an estimated 107,000 are available for adoption. Every year in the US, an estimated 23,000 children age out of the foster system with no family to belong to and no place to call home. In 2016 there were 28,732 children in foster care in Texas. As of January 2017 there were 3,600 children waiting for adoptive families. There are an estimated 27,500 churches in the state of Texas. If the church in Texas would rise up, we could easily have no more children waiting for forever families.
There is also a need for foster parents in our area. Some children have not had their parental rights terminated for various reasons and need a safe place to live and heal. We need people to become licensed to minister to these kids and teens to show them the love that our Father has for them. Singles and married couples can become licensed to provide foster care with no expectation or commitment to adopt.
When it comes to making a decision about adoption, many people get stuck between thinking and doing. Fears, uncertainties and doubts keep people from being able to make an informed adoption decision. That is why FamilyLife has created the Welcome Home: Eight Steps to Adoption guide. The guide provides easy-to-use adoption information from a Christian perspective to help you navigate through the adoption process. There is information regarding domestic and international adoption as well as adoption from U.S. foster care is also included.DOWNLOAD THE ADOPTION GUIDE
Would you and your family pray about making a lifetime difference in the life of a waiting child?
Facts About Fostering to Adopt
- Some families choose to be licensed to foster with the intent of adopting that child
- Once licensed, these families are carefully matched with children in foster care who are waiting for families
- Only children whose parental rights have already been terminated would be matched
- This type of adoption is virtually cost-free to the adoptive family and many times includes helpful benefits provided by the state
- If the child is eligible, these benefits may include various services, college tuition assistance and other financial stipends
- These families meet the same requirements as traditional foster parents
Facts about Foster Parenting
- Singles and married couples can become licensed to provide foster care with no expectation or commitment to adopt
- Families can choose to foster children with or without special needs, individual children or sibling groups and children within age ranges of the families choosing
- Families can be licensed to provide “respite” or relief care for foster parents on a short-term basis
- Families can also support foster families in their church or community in a variety of meaningful and practical ways
Foster Parent Requirements
Requirements for becoming a licensed foster or adoptive parent can vary among agencies. Some of the basic common requirements are:
- Over the age of 21
- Clean criminal record
- Legal U.S. resident
- Space in the home adequate for a child
- Home that passes safety inspections
- Moral character and sound judgment deemed appropriate for parenting
- Required training and certifications
Foster Parents are:
- Responsible for meeting the emotional, physical, recreational, spiritual, material and safety needs of children
- Subject to rules (i.e., state standards) for care of children in their care monitored by CPS and/or a CPA (Child Placing Agency)
- Foster parents are reimbursed for caring for children in foster care
- The reimbursement is meant to cover the expenses of raising children; it is not considered ‘income’ and is intended to be spent on the needs of children
- In most cases, the daily reimbursement is around $20-$25 per day for each child
- Children in foster care are also generally eligible for Medicaid in order to provide for their medical and dental needs
- In some cases funds are available to reimburse foster parents for a portion of their childcare costs
Becoming a Wrap-around Family
- We are looking for people who will wrap around our lead families to support them.
- Families can be licensed to provide “respite” or relief care for foster parents on a short-term basis. Some training and background checks are required.
- Or you can provide meals or other resources to help a family who has chosen to lead out
Other Opportunities for Service
- Find out how you or your Group can get involved and play an active role in a child’s life. There are opportunities to serve foster or adoptive families during service times as a aide for a child who may be fearful to attend kids church. There is also a constant need for supplies for quick placements where the foster family may not have the necessary items.
Beltway Park partners with New Horizon’s Child Placing Agency to host foster parent trainings throughout the year. All weekend training sessions will be held at New Horizons Child Placing Agency (147 Sayles Blvd. Abilene, TX 79605) unless otherwise noted. To be licensed for full-time foster care, you must attend all sessions.
There are background checks and paperwork which need to be completed before training begins, so please RSVP with New Horizons at (325) 437-1852 before training begins. You can also contact New Horizons to ask about upcoming training dates.
Note that no childcare is provided; please make other arrangements for your children. If you must bring older children, please be aware that many issues of victimization, including physical and sexual abuse, will be discussed throughout these trainings.
Several times per year Beltway Park partners with a group of agencies to provide training so that you can babysit for another foster parent. We desperately need more babysitters to provide help for our foster parents. This allows them much better longevity in their role as foster parent. On this training day, you can attend one training and get certified to help with multiple agencies. The three agencies who are participating in this training are Saint Francis Community Services, New Horizons and Methodist Children’s Home. This is a collaboration of several local churches as well. For information on the next training date, click here: www.beltway.org/abilenecares.
WHAT IS CASA?
Big Country CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) trains and supports volunteer advocates for children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Each CASA volunteer is appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a child or set of siblings in foster care and to advocate for the services they need to heal and thrive. CASA’s goal is to help children find safe, permanent homes as soon as possible and ultimately, become healthy adult citizens.
WHAT DOES A CASA VOLUNTEER DO?
- CASA volunteers are screened, highly trained and appointed by judges to advocate for a child’s best interests in the child protection system.
- CASA volunteers are each assigned to one child or set of siblings so they can focus on giving them the individualized advocacy and attention they need.
- CASA volunteers save taxpayers money and children’s futures by helping children find a safe, permanent homes as soon as possible.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR CASA
- Willing to commit at least eighteen months of your time for the benefit of the child
- Able to effectively communicate orally and in writing
- Willing to go through an in-depth training program
- Able to pass an extensive criminal and CPS history background check
- Age 21 and over
In Texas, 71 local programs with more than 7,200 volunteers are serving nearly 23,000 abused and neglected children in 208 counties. However, more than 24,000 children in foster care do not have someone to speak up for them.