Where do we begin?
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 space.
Ask them how you could most effectively support them. 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.
Create a private Facebook group to share important foster care information (newly approved foster families, 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 can be 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 and events. Shirts are subtle advertising for the ministry.
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 those awaiting their foster care approval into the ministry to begin connecting them with community. It gives everyone 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.