Did You Know that these are the Faces of Foster Care?Rich Stigall
If I told you to imagine a group of ten children currently in the foster care system, what would you picture? Rather, who would you picture?
Each year, the Children’s Bureau – an office of the Administration for Children and Families – releases The AFCARS Report. Using the data from this report, we can develop a picture of the faces of foster care. Imagine…
The group of ten sit in a circle, bewildered by the diversity of the group. There are five girls and five boys, representing a variety of ages. Three of the children are less than three years old, and three of the children are teenagers. The others fall somewhere in between.
Each child has a unique story. A story of what has brought them into care. A story of known hardship. There’s an incredible sense of acknowledgment among the group: recognition of the trauma each has endured and continues to face.
Yet, there is a perplexity as to how to interact. The age differences are apparent. So are the differences in race/ethnicity. There are four white children, three black or African American children, two Hispanic children, and one Native American.
The children begin to speak, telling of their time in “the system.” Three of the children have been in foster care five months or less. Four have been in foster care between six to 23 months. One has been in foster care for two years. Two have been in foster care for more than three years.
The children look across the room, pondering the path their peers will take. Social workers hope to reunify half the group with their family. Others must find a different route. Perhaps someone will declare their longing to adopt them into their family. Or, less likely, maybe a relative will accept them into their home. One of them will likely endure state guardianship and or emancipation. The children hope they are not the one without any semblance of family when they leave the system.
Of all the differences, though, one truth remains: All are in need of the church’s tangible expression of the love of Jesus Christ.
For your own reference, please find a link to AFCARS Report #22 here>>
Care to learn more? Please contact us for additional information as to how you can help meet the needs of the children in foster care in your community.