They go to school. They have friends. They have dreams.

Four Hundred.  Four hundred children who have to wake up in a stranger’s home. Four hundred children who have to change their school. Four hundred children who don’t know if the same bed they slept in last night will be the same bed they sleep in tonight.

Four Hundred is the number of children in Duval and Nassau counties that have been abused, abandoned, and/or neglected, who by no fault of their own reside in foster care and the sad reality is there are not enough local homes to accommodate these children.  While parents are working towards stability and safety in their home, foster families provide for the physical and emotional well-being of the child in a stable home environment. They are a crucial part of the team whose goal it is to reunite broken families.

Kids in foster care are just that...kids. They are in our neighborhood schools, playing basketball at the park, and sitting next to you in church. They need help with their homework, someone to advocate for them at school, or make their favorite dinner on their birthday. Unfortunately, these kids have been through circumstances that no person should ever have to experience and enter foster care through no fault of their own.

They go to school, they have friends, and they have dreams. That’s where you come in. We need homes to care for these children temporarily to ensure they have an adult advocate acting as a parent to help them stay on track towards those dreams.

James 1:27 says, 

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

As a part of the 2016 vision of The District Church, it is our hope to not only be in our community, but be so intimately intertwined with it to make a heavenly impact. Therefore, we are all responsible for these children; They are not the State of Florida’s children, they are God’s children and therefore the church’s responsibility.

Being a foster parent is a great way to live on mission! While that child is in your home, you have the opportunity to show that child what it's like to be a part of a family. What it's like to sleep in a safe home every night. To show them what appropriate boundaries are. How a husband and wife should interact. What it's like to be given grace when they mess up. What it's like to have an adult love them and advocate for them. While these may seem normal and mundane to you or I, these are often pivotal things that children miss out on.

Understandably, the thought of becoming a foster parent can be very overwhelming, but you will not walk through this alone. There is a team of people such as licensing coordinators and placement specialists to be a support to foster parents. The child also have continued support from their caseworker and therapist. As we all know, it takes a village. In addition, the requirements to become a foster parent are likely a lot easier to meet than you may think.

  • Married or single
  • Own or rent your home
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Work outside the home or in the home
  • Valid Driver’s License and insurance

If you meet those requirements, you can start the process today.

If you are interested in fostering, adopting, mentoring, or just want to talk to someone further, please feel free to talk to Lina Skeim, Robin Staley or Jessica Marra on Sundays. Each of them work in child welfare and can answer any specific questions you may have. You may also contact Family Support Services at (904)421-5864 or email jesse.wilson@fssnf.org. Stay tuned for more posts about other ways you can get involved.