It’s that time of the year again. That time where awareness is lingering over us; the thoughts are there; the need is urgent; everyone is influenced. And as we have sat in awe of the turmoil before, today is the day we are called to the shift of sitting to take a STAND for action.
Yes, it’s 2020. Yes, it’s a political time. Yes, you can feel for or against the appointed president and all related action thereof. But none of that is the focus of this stand we are called to.
The STAND for kids related to foster care in the United States.
I’m talking about taking a stand in your local community, with your local education providers, in your state system, and yeah, in our country! Take a stand for those who are in foster care or related to it in the American Foster Care System….yep…all 450,000 of them. (Which doesn’t include the number of relatives, professionals, community members, etc involved.)
National Orphan Sunday was last week, and November is National Adoption month. The United States STAND Sunday was seeded in 2002 when a Texas congregation chose to take a STAND through action for foster youth. Then in 2017, the whole United States declared to take a STAND for the second Sunday of November.
Do you feel like you’re not one of “those” people? or maybe feel like it’s not your place or ability to stand for them? or maybe you are unsure why it matters or how foster care directly affects you? (might I add that is a grace in itself to ask that).
Of course, maybe your child was not in foster care. And maybe you were not a child in foster care yourself. And, maybe you were or are not meant or equipped to be a foster parent.
Okay! But, beings foster care impacts each and every one of us, you are still called to make a stand. Let me explain…
Did you know 70% of those who are involved in the Juvenile Justice System have also been involved in child welfare?
Did you know 40-50% of former youth are homeless 18 months after leaving foster care?
Did you know, of those who are incarcerated 80% of them were or are dealing with child welfare?
Did you know 60% of the youth impacted by child welfare earn below the poverty line?
Did you know 5 million youth are impacted by parent incarceration?
Did you know any profession in the child welfare system: law enforcement, human services, educational, medical, therapeutic, non-profits, are physically, mentally, and emotionally impacted by the services they provide? (and many at or close to the poverty line of income also!)
Did you know the Bible mentions a call for all people to support the “Orphans and Widows” over 20 times?
Did you know some of the strongest, national advocates of change were victims of trauma themselves (probably positively influenced by someone like you)?
Did you know sex trafficking, drug abuse, opioid crisis, taxes, medical costs, human services, mental health, well-being, all coincide strongly with the child welfare system?
Still need a few to see how it relates to you?
Did you know domestic violence, anxiety (70% of Americans, W.H.O), mental illness, medical needs, family conflict, and anger have no social-economic status?
Did you know secondary trauma affects the professionals you know in these fields that carry a weight of responsibility far beyond their ability for these kids and families?
Did you know these people are your family, your friends, your church affiliates, your business partners, your community members, your fellow advocate—and they can’t always do it alone?
Did you know we ALL are or know someone who is impacted by something above.
Indirectly, we all have a role to influence the lives of the next generation who are influenced by the current caregiver, advocates, and standers around them. These 400,000 kids, plus their families and those families not in out-of-home placements, are those future people!
The next generation is influenced by what we do (or don’t) stand for!
So, if you can relate to any of these (and you should) YOU are called to take a STAND right now…today. Your role in influencing the great American future is to play a role in the dream to heal our hurting children and families. Taking a STAND together for this can be far, far, far more powerful than any single political election.
Yes, both are essential. And I hope you voiced your essential vote. But, now it is time to stand as a voice and action for foster youth and service!!
As Bishop Blake of the original STAND Texas church in 2002 said,
“Who will stand with me to defend care and support of abused, abandoned, and neglected children in OUR community?”
**As a foster care alumni, a social worker, a foster parent, an adoptive parent, Christian, and advocate for the dignity and worth of each person and child in our country, here are a few suggestions of how to STAND (outside of direct fostering):
Sponsor your local foster care organization(s).
(Google your state child welfare organizations or explore national!
2. Inquire and donate to an organization or service for child welfare. (www.nfpaonline.org,
3. Educate your community, church, business of child welfare.
4. Practice self care and help a person/professional related to child welfare do the same.
5. Reach out to local community to see what is missing or needed in education, mental health, medicine, children, families, etc!)