New Wine SkinsRich Stigall
Recently, The Christian Post published an article titled, “The Silent Crisis in America.” The story featured the plight of more than 400,000 children in our U.S. Foster Care system, including more than 100,000 waiting for adoption. Each year, the government allocates millions of dollars and significant hours through case workers, court proceedings, training, etc. Despite the efforts of many committed and caring individuals, children are coming in at a faster rate than “the system” can handle well.
For example, in the state of Texas alone, this April 1,578 children were removed from the care of family considered negligent, i.e. these are children who came into the care of Texas foster care system. During the month of April, 1,200 children left the foster care system for various reasons. Hundreds were placed back with a family member or adopted by another family. 97 teenagers “aged out” of the system. (At 18, these teenagers are supposed to be able to fend for themselves, but the statistics on children who have “aged out” are bleak. High school graduation rates are low. Teen pregnancy, homelessness, and incarceration rates are high.) Even if one ignores the “aging out” crisis, Texas took in 378 more children than it placed in care just in the month of April.
Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Bishop Aaron Blake and Assistant State Commissioner of Child Protective Services, Ms. Audrey Deckinga (pictured left), seem to agree. These two champions for children are leading a new effort to provide permanency for children in Texas who need family. Rejecting misapplied notions that the Church and state cannot work together, they are catalyzing community-by-community efforts proving otherwise.
Last week, GO Project Texas participated in a day-long training session focused on how the state can support the Church in our Biblical mandate to care for orphans. The state’s servant spirit is impressive and encouraging, as is the bold, innovative spirit of churches like Evangel Temple in Wichita Falls. (To be inspired, read about their P.I. Project – http://www.etcwf.com/#/pi-project)
When it comes to caring for orphans in Texas or Tanzania, the status quo is insufficient. God is moving in fresh ways through His Church. We live in an Orphan Awakening, and we celebrate the servant leaders in the state and the Church who are accepting Jesus’ invitation to care for the least of these, embracing the possibilities, and getting to work to mobilize family for children in need.