Foster care statistics are tragic. One recent report noted that in the United States, over 60% of children and adults tied into sex-trafficking came out of the foster care system. Multiple states have prison populations where over half of the male population was once in foster care. Sadly, over half of girls who age out of foster care are pregnant within two years, and the cycle repeats itself into the next generation where children of former foster care children come into foster care. Foster children need more than simply a roof over their heads. They need love, nurturing, accountability and hope. There simply are not enough foster families to do this. The significant deficit of foster homes means children are often moved far away from their community and school to other parts of the state, siblings are split up, and at times, children sleep in extended stay hotels.
Churches working together will be the solution. Live the Promise is a promising plan for foster care, equipping churches to flood the foster care system with well-trained and well-supported foster families. In the United States, there are 300,000 churches and 400,000 children in foster care. If every church has one foster family then there will be more than enough families for children and specifically, sibling groups, to have loving families.
Live the Promise dramatically increases the total number of foster families through three approaches. First, sustained and customized church awareness campaigns breed new foster families. Second, an engineered care community surrounding foster families keeps approved families fostering. Third, volunteers, surrounding foster families, gradually increase their commitment to foster children until many become foster parents themselves. A virtuous cycle allows for sustained growth. All this occurs in the context of churches where there is both accountability and encouragement.
We know churches want to engage. They simply need a strong vehicle. Live the Promise is a simple, high quality, scalable, and sustainable model, a promising plan for foster care. The solution includes keeping kids close to home whenever advisable and a family-centric approach aiming for permanency and reunification.