Summer is quickly coming to an end, and it’s time for foster families to prepare for the back to school transition. This season can present mixed feelings for a child in foster care. Some children may have fear or anxiety about starting school in a new community, being academically behind or developing relationships with peers. As your foster family works to settle children into a school year routine, below are some suggestions on how you can support both the child and family during this transition.
Relay coupons and school supply deals: This time of year, there are so many avenues for accessing school supplies. If you know of a specific supply drive, coupons or other deals, share them with your foster family. If you have children of your own, invite the family to school supply shop with you and tackle the task together!
As a pastor or a lay leader, have you thought about building a Foster Adoption Friendly church but don’t know how to get started? Project 1.27 provides a 3-hour Church Ministry training that guides a leadership team through developing a Foster Adoption ministry designed to work within your church framework.
“The greatest benefit of the Project 1.27 Foster Adoption Ministry Leadership training was helping our team get organized from our vision statement to ideas of ways to better support families that have heeded the call to adopt.” - Project 1.27 Church Partner
Contact Project 1.27 for more information on a training in your community.
In the space of one phone call, the Chacons became a kinship family. Three years ago, on Katrina’s birthday, social services called and asked if she could provide kinship care for a relative’s six-month old daughter. Katrina describes it as a whirlwind of emotions, “I was excited and scared and trying to process everything at the same time. I’d never done anything like this before, but Baby LoRena needed immediate placement so I said yes. We needed to help her out.”
The Chacon family is part of Project 1.27’s Kinship Support Group in Mesa County. Katrina and Joey have two older children, Darryn, 12 and Ahleigha, 9. They recently adopted Baby LoRena, now 3 years old. An outgoing, spunky family, the Chacon’s are always joking around. Darryn’s allergy doctor looks forward to seeing them because when the Chacon’s come in for an appointment, the family is always laughing. The older kids were excited to welcome and pitch in to care for LoRena when she arrived so unexpectedly.
Like many children who come into foster care, LoRena arrived with little, just the onesie she was wearing. It had been a long time since there’d been a baby in the house, so the Chacons purchased a few things. One of Katrina’s friends, who had an older infant, brought over clothes and baby supplies.
Sometimes it can be hard to identify ways to bless a foster family as they navigate through foster care. From the outside looking in, it is difficult to understand the day to day needs or to know what provides tangible help. In addition to re-visiting your Support Team Roster, below are some unique suggestions to show appreciation and support to your foster family. Pick an idea that fits you and follow through. Instead of saying, “When would be a good time to bring you a meal?” you could instead suggest, “I am free on Thursday to bring your family dinner. Does everyone like pizza? Does that work for your schedule?” When support team members remember to keep checking in and offering help, it makes all the difference in giving a family the relief and energy they need to keep providing high-quality care to children.
Host a virtual card drive: Is your family encouraged by words of affirmation? Consider rallying the members of your support team and beyond to email encouraging notes to your family. Remind them that they are doing good work and are supported by those they love.
Over the last year, Project 1.27 has been part of a small group of Christian organizations and churches from across the country collaborating to find ways to better engage and equip churches across the U.S. to provide more than enough resources to children and families before, during and beyond foster care. After praying and planning, we believe there can be more than enough resources to care for every child in foster care if 10% of churches in every county in the country (3,142 counties) are actively engaged in foster care by 2025.
One of the first steps was to design a self-assessment tool for churches that will help you understand how your church is currently engaged in this ministry space and where there are opportunities for further engagement. The assessment is short and the information your church gains will be informative and inspiring.
Learn more about the 1.27 National Network here if you’d like to support the growth of 1.27 Ministries across the country and be part of DESTINATION More Than Enough
In the spirit of Father’s Day, it is important to celebrate and encourage the fathers and father figures in our lives who serve their families, children and community. Fathers and father figures should provide a powerful foundation of respect, trust and love. For many children coming into care, instead of this powerful foundation, there may have been neglect, fear and harshness. As a result, fathers and father figures in foster care may be the first positive male role model a child knows. Below are some suggestions for how to recognize this important role and implement ways to help the foster child build a powerful foundation of respect, trust and love.
On July 26, 2017, Truffles*, 14 and his sister, Cheesecake*, 13 were welcomed into the Humenansky family. (After almost a year with the family, Truffles and Cheescake asked if they could share why more people should consider fostering teens and sibling sets as well as offer some advice on connecting with teens. Their foster mom, Rebecca, also shares some useful advice!
*Nicknames used to preserve confidentiality of children in foster care.
Truffles enjoys the Humenansky’s fat dog, biking, getting money from grandmas at Christmas, sandwiches and funny people. He recently chose to be baptized and his future DESTINATION will likely include working with animals because “they are important!”
Cheesecake’s favorite things include reading non-fiction, art, music and being with her big brother.. Her future DESTINATION includes many possibilities - cosmetology, teaching, social work and being a foster mom!
Are you preparing for Vacation Bible School at your church this summer? Are your volunteer teachers and staff prepared to handle the multitude of behaviors that may come along with having a classroom full of children? Project 1.27 can provide Trauma-Informed Training for church ministry volunteers in preparation for VBS. Many kids come into children’s ministry with a trauma history, not just kids who’ve experienced foster care or adoption. Children may have experienced the trauma of divorce, grief and loss, domestic violence, bullying or because of developmental delays. We've found that Trauma-Informed Training is effective with all children, no matter their background.
Let’s unpack some myths about children’s behaviors and make VBS a safe, nurturing experience for every child.