SUPPORT A FOSTER OR BIRTH FAMILY

 Here are 10 wonderful ideas from the blog of foster FATHER, Jason Johnson! jasonjohnsonblog.com

1) ORGANIZE A MEAL CALENDAR  

It's fairly standard practice for small groups, support groups, women's ministries, etc. to organize a meal calendar for a family when a new baby is born. Do the same for a foster family when a new child is brought to their home. Or even better, bless a birth family as they transition back together post placement.  takethemameal.com is a great site! 

2) SCHEDULE LAWN CARE

Do whatever you can to relieve any amount of burden you can from the family - like organize a team of people in the church who rotate mowing foster families lawns while they have children in their homes.

3) CERTIFY BABYSITTERS or Personal care assistants (pca's)

It is illegal to leave a foster child with a babysitter that is not (in most cases) CPR certified and background checked. This means most families struggle to find babysitters. Host CPR certification classes at the church. Have sitters ready for families!  You can get your background check done through the county and apply to become a pca through a company like ACCRA Care to help foster/adoptive kids in their home environment.

4) CONDUCT DEDICATION CEREMONIES

Most churches celebrate Parent/Child Dedication ceremonies during the year. Do the same for foster families. When they bring in a new placement pray for them in front of the church and have the body commit to support them!

5) HOST DATE NIGHT CHILDCARE

Once a quarter or every semester (or even once a month) the church can hire certified babysitters for a Friday or Saturday night and allow foster families from the church and community (hint: outreach!) the chance to go on a date!

6) DELIVER CARE PACKAGES

Most placements occur with little to no notice. Often times within hours. Have things like diapers, gift cards, baby supplies, and other necessities ready to go to be dropped off to a family immediately after receiving a child. To be added to an on call list for helping new foster families in your county let us know!

7) STOCK A SUPPLY PANTRY

In conjunction with the care packages develop a supply pantry that stores items like diapers, cribs, strollers, car seats, baby equipment, bikes and other things that families may immediately need upon a child placement.  

8) BUILD A RESPITE CARE TEAM or become a foster kid mentor

Certified babysitters can watch a child for a short period of time (generally less than 48 hours). When extended breaks are needed or travel plans require it, respite care providers are needed. These are extremely hard to find. Respite providers need to go through the same training as foster parents and thus are extremely hard to find!  Have a team at your church ready!  (If you know any good respite care providers, please contact us so we can let other families know about them!)  Royal Family KIDS provides training to become a foster kid mentor, which is a four hour commitment once a month.  This can make a huge difference in a foster kid's life!!!

9) FACILITATE SUPPORT GROUPS

Foster parents live in a unique world of state regulations, bio-parent visits and licensing guidelines as well as experience the emotions that come along with loving vulnerable children. Give them a place to connect, share experiences, and encourage one another.  Encourage your church to provide a class like this one in through Ramsey County's ECFE program.   
 

10) PRAY

Pray for them. They are engaged in a spiritual battle over the lives of incredibly vulnerable children. They are standing on the front lines and in the gaps for these kids while willingly placing themselves in the path of the Enemy's attacks. 
1- Pray that the foster families will have the chance to mentor and support birth families during and after placement.
2-Pray for wisdom and patience for foster families as they care for hurting children with trauma related behaviors.
3-Pray for foster children to know they are loved and that the cycle of abuse and neglect will be broken with them.
4- Pray for the kids in the foster families to bond well with love and forgiveness and mercy for one another as they transition through difficult times.
5- Pray for the parents in the foster families to communicate well, grow in their love for each other, and be supported to continue on this tough and sometimes lonely road.
6-Pray for the placement bags we are giving to foster kids- that they would be encouraged knowing that we are thinking about them and that they will reach out to us if they have any needs.
7-Pray for birth families who are struggling with the transition back to parenting after a placement, that they will reach out for help and support and allow us to show them the love of Jesus Christ!