On the Grid: Tier 2 – Walking with Children and FamiliesRich Stigall
In 2015, the CarePortal network engaged to meet the physical needs of children and families in crisis. 2016 is very promising, with existing and new churches continuing to meet physical needs of at-risk local families.
Yet, as we enter 2016, we proceed into new depths of the child welfare system, seeking to transcend meeting only physical needs. Tier 2 requires a deeper type investment. In Tier 2, we walk with children and families on the brink or currently enduring family collapse.
Similar to Tier 1, Tier 2 needs are divided into four categories: prevention, foster care, adoption, and transition. You can discover more about each box on The Grid here>>
At the provided link, each box is described in detail to discuss the area of need, to provide examples of types of needs related to the box, and to list partners in the CarePortal network dedicated to addressing that need.
Tier 1 involves a physical equipping of local families. Tier 2 necessitates a relational bolstering. Tier 2 is a commitment of time and resources to aid another in need. It requires nothing less than tying the heart to another and daring to hope beyond family collapse. It is a glaring gap in the child welfare system, which signals the challenges in seeking to aid in this area.
Yet, engagement in Tier 2 requires more than direct interaction with the child welfare system. Tier 2 seeks to foster a culture of inclusiveness whereby those who are directly engaged with the system are supported by those in their community of faith. For example, the couple serving as foster parents are likely short on time, so what if a family in the church committed to preparing a meal each week for sole purposes of helping the family? Or, perhaps a family will serve as babysitters for a foster family so that the parents can enjoy a much-needed moment of rest? Tier 2 is a recognition that all of us in the church must join hand-in-hand to address the needs of the child welfare system.
Throughout the first half of 2016, we will unpack Tier 2 and reflect upon relationally supporting children and families in crisis. Let us pray that the Lord will be our guide in understanding how to engage.
Be thou our vision.