In “Foster Care for a New Millennium,” (Sojourners, January 2014), Juliet Vedral describes foster children as the modern-day “orphans in distress,” with more than 102,000 children nationwide waiting to be adopted. DC127, a movement started in Washington, D.C., is hoping to reverse the foster care list by encouraging church congregants to become foster families or adopt.
Everyone can do something to care for children in foster care, whether by fostering, adopting, or supporting those that are doing so. The resources below help engage foster care at a personal and community level. What can you do to help the thousands of children who seek a loving and stable home?
- Bethany Christian Services is a global nonprofit that supports family and child preservation through foster and adoption services.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters matches adults with children to create positive and encouraging mentor relationships. Mentors can often request a child living in foster care.
- Casey Family Programs is the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on foster care and improving the child welfare system.
- Christian Alliance for Orphans unites more than 140 Christian organizations and churches to inspire them to support foster care children and orphans in adoption.
- The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute brings together policymakers and people with foster care or adoption experience to raise awareness for the needs of foster children.
- Foster Care to Success supports college-bound foster youth by providing them with tuition grants, personal mentors, and internship opportunities.
- The National Foster Parent Association represents thousands of foster families nationwide. The organization provides foster advocacy and support at a local, national, and state level.
- Adoption For Dummies, by Tracy Barr, is a helpful guide for navigating the often complex process of adoption. For Dummies, 2003
- The Foster Parenting Toolbox, edited by Kim Phagan-Hansel, shares helpful information from parents, case workers, social workers, and experts who have worked with foster children and the foster system. EMK Press, 2012
- Maybe Days: A Book for Children in Foster Care, by Jennifer Wilgocki and Marcia Kahn Wright, is an informative and approachable book for children living in the foster care system. Magination Press, 2002
- Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care, by Tony Merida and Rick Morton, explores adoption and fostering at a personal and congregational level. New Hope Publishers, 2011
- Shield: A Framework of Self-Care for Foster and Adoptive Families, by Sharla Kostelyk, contains self-care advice for foster and adoptive parents. Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2011
- To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care, by Cris Beam, includes an overview of the foster system and in-depth portraits of foster children and parents. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
DOCUMENTARIES & VIDEOS
- Family; The First Circle is a feature documentary about foster care and families in western United States. Appaloosa Pictures and Priddy Brothers, 2010
- From Place to Place, a feature film, shares the story of three youth who have aged out of the foster care system. Porch Productions, 2011
- Short Term 12, an Indie film, explores the issue of foster care through a supervisor working at a facility for at-risk teenagers. Animal Kingdom and Traction Media, 2013
- Somewhere Between follows four girls adopted from China as they grow up and explore their identities. Long Shot Factory and Ladylike Films, 2011
- Parents of foster children share their experiences in this clip produced by AdoptUSKids. AdoptUsKids, 2009
- In this short clip, Katie Couric reports on Safe Families, a program established in several states that serves as an alternative to the foster care system. CBS, 2010
Rebecca Kraybill is editorial assistant at Sojourners magazine.