Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
Orphans have a special place in the heart of God. As his church, we are called to love and care for them. Children in foster care are modern-day orphans. The numbers are sobering:
- 250,000 children enter the Foster Care System annually (The Forgotten Initiative)
- 100,000+ are ready to be adopted (The Forgotten Initiative)
- 20,000+ age out of the foster care system every year without a family. (The Forgotten Initiative)
- 80% of prisoners spent time in the Foster Care System (Foster Care 2.0)
- Individuals in foster care are diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at six times the general population and double the rate of veterans returning from war. (Foster Care 2.0)
- 100,000 children in the US are sex trafficking victims. 60% of them were in the Foster Care System. (National Foster Youth Institute)
- Central Illinois has 5,928 children in foster care – 183 are in McLean County (IL DCFS)
The statistics associated with children in foster care are staggering. The numbers are so overwhelmingly discouraging and the system so broken, it can seem impossible to do anything that can actually change things on a grand scale. We must not look away. Everyone can do something to help. Loving long-term foster homes are needed as well as respite caregivers to give foster parents a break. Not everyone can do that, but everyone can do something. Consider some small ways that you can make a difference:
- Provide a meal for a foster family – this is especially helpful when there is a new placement.
- Send a note or text of encouragement to a foster parent you know and are praying for.
- Deliver treats to DCFS and other agencies who serve this community.
- Follow The Forgotten Initiative on Social media for prayer focuses and other ways to help.
- Participate in drives to help local foster families including bed builds and Christmas gift collections.
- Volunteer at Royal Family Kids Camp, a weeklong summer camp for children in foster care.
Supporting and providing loving foster care takes care of orphans, fights human-trafficking, and does preemptive prison ministry. This is a fight worth fighting and everyone can do something. As you pray today, ask God to move to bring healing in these children’s lives and to show you he wants you to get involved.
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.