With only a few passionate volunteer leaders and little or no budget, you can start a thriving ministry where you show your foster and adoptive families that you are with them and for them!
We will go over low-cost or free strategies and support elements that any church can implement. The items covered will not require church leadership buy-in or communication from the pulpit.
You will learn ways that a volunteer-led group can begin to coalesce and create the groundwork for care and community among foster and adoptive parents in a single church or a collaboration of churches.
Strategies and Support
Do THIS first!
Identify the people in your congregation that are already involved in the foster care world (foster families, caseworkers, CASAs, etc.). Discovering who they are will allow you to do the following as simple first steps:
- Create an appreciation event. This can breathe life into those who have stepped into this missional space.
- Ask them how you could most effectively support them, and then develop ways to do those things.
- If Care Community-style support is desired, first learn how to bring support to those already fostering and then work on growth. Begin by developing an approach to recruit the supporting cast members. You may unintentionally develop awareness that causes growth. That’s okay. But don’t try to begin by stimulating foster family growth.
Create a private Facebook group to share important foster care information (new placements, event details, helpful blogs, etc.) and to celebrate adoptions and reunifications with those in your ministry.
This is used for camps, music lessons, and emergency supplies at placement. View our Financial Support Guidelines.
Adoption, reunification, or acknowledgement gifts are DIY projects that a volunteer can do.
- Handwritten notes of encouragement with gift cards
- Wooden plaques with family photos, meaningful verses, adoption dates, etc.
- Photo shoots for adoptive families (provided by a volunteer photographer)
Families love Fostering Together shirts. Encourage people to wear them to church, Huddles, etc. Shirts are subtle advertising for the ministry.
- Blue – All ministry participants
- Gray – Event volunteers (hospitality and childcare)
Pre-Registration for Children’s Environments
Work with the children’s environments at your church to prepare for a child’s arrival to small group on Sunday morning. Giving parents information to share with the child ahead of time (like the name of the child’s small group leader and the room number) can make for a more comfortable and overall better experience for the child.
Resources – Books, DVDs, Blogs, etc.
Creating a database of resources for your families to access can be very helpful.
Make Other Support Organizations Visible
Compile a list of support organizations and make it consistently visible to foster families at your church.
Regular contact between your prayer team and ministry participants is ideal. Families love the encouragement and prayers. We use a Google Form for tracking purposes.
Huddles are casual, non-programmed gatherings usually held between services on Sundays. Coffee and donuts are served. The families love to meet face-to-face for fellowship and connection. This is a great way to invite “in process of approval” folks into the ministry to begin engaging them. It also gives them a sense of belonging after they’re approved. Our families bring their kids with them!
This could be an entire sub-ministry volunteer activity. Information about one of our partner organizations can be found on their website. We include this activity in the supporting mentor role due to the complexity of a large geographic spread that we have with multiple campuses.