Collaborators for the foster care journey
It takes a village to raise any child, but especially children who have experienced trauma. There are many roles and ways we can wrap a foster child and their families – biological, foster and adoptive -- in a nurturing network of support.
You will find local churches and other organizations in your communities already engaged in caring for foster children and their families. To find a local foster care provider near you, visit Texas Alliance of Children & Family Services.
Here are some statewide, national and international organizations:
The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops can provide data on the needs in your community, as well as other resources. Contact us at StJosephMinistry@txcatholic.org or 512.339.9882.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has staff assigned to support faith-based organizations in each region of TXDFPS.
Heart Gallery is a national organization with regional sites which provides professional photography of actual adoptive children. Willing to come to a parish or event with an attractive display, it provides a realistic, yet uplifting, presentation of the children.
The Care Portal connects parishes to children and families with vital needs through the caseworker. The caseworker makes a request via the website about the needs of the family; the request is then relayed to participating Care Portal churches within a certain radius of the family, which then respond to the specific needs.
The Christian Alliance for Orphans is a national foster care initiative. It offers a program around a children’s book, “Farmer Herman and the Flooding Barn,” which can be used in classrooms and by families, and which is accompanied by a Classroom Leader’s Guide and a three-part family devotional guide.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) trains and supports people who stand up for the best interests of children who have been abused or neglected. Appointed by judges, they speak up for the child’s needs in the courtroom and community.
Open Table, a national coalition, provides a means for faith-based communities to engage groups of volunteers that make a year-long commitment to act – through relationship — as a team of life specialists, encouragers, and advocates. Texas’ First Lady is recommending using the Open Table process to assist children who are aging out of the system.
An international summit which last year drew more than 2,000 parents, church leaders and others involved in orphan and foster care from 30+ countries is being held in Dallas May 9-11, 2018.
Being a foster parent is a special calling, similar to God’s call to people to be a “forever” parent, or to the vocation of marriage. Not everyone has this calling to be a foster parent, and sometimes people find themselves moved to be a foster parent later in life.
Regardless, by our baptism, each of us is called to love our neighbor and to serve one another with a spirit of generosity. Therefore, each of us has a role to play in supporting foster parents.
This bilingual resource kit offers practical ways for a parish, and individual Catholics, to discern how they can be a community of support and love for children in the foster care system and their families, both foster and biological. Begin with the discernment guide: Each parish has a unique set of gifts and challenges which must be honored as parishioners discern their engagement.
From isolation to encounter: How our parishes can become "islands of mercy in the sea of indifference.”
St. Joseph offers us a model of how to respond when the task may seem too daunting.
Events to highlight care for foster children and their families
Check back often as we update our toolbox of resources for parishes and Catholics.