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I’m in Ukraine…thrilled to see firsthand the tremendous ways Ukrainian Christians are rising for the orphans of their country. But as I contemplate all that is happening here, it’s exciting to consider that this same, faith-motivated passion is visible also among Americans for vulnerable children in the U.S.
Across the U.S., more and more Christians are wading deep into the foster system. They’re fostering and mentoring, adopting and serving as CASAs, establishing Safe Families programs and helping struggling birthparents reunite with their children.
The upcoming CAFO “Families for Children” Conference in Orlando on November 9 will be the first of its kind. Leaders from many of the best church-based foster care ministries across the country will gather not only to connect with each other…but also to share know-how and resources with churches, families and social work professionals.
The conference goal? More churches and families effectively engaged in serving foster youth and their parents.
Foster care has been part of the Christian orphan care movement since it began. But from all I am seeing, this engagement is more vibrant now than ever, and continues to expand, from Washington state to Washington, DC…from Chicago to Fresno to Dallas to Louisville to Fort Lauderdale.
The Families for Children conference will highlight and spread proven models for church ministries…equip families that are amidst—or considering–the foster care journey….and will also enable child welfare professionals to more fully partner with the faith community to improve outcomes for children.
This thrills me. I recall the leader of a global ministry share with me after Summit a few years ago, “I’ve served orphans in Eastern Europe for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until this Summit that I really thought seriously about the kids who’ve been effectively orphaned across town.” He still leads great work globally…but now also is helping his church in Southern California build a local Safe Families program.
The beauty is, this isn’t a zero-sum competition between local and global. We can do both. And, in fact, I often see that it’s the families most engaged globally who are most primed to get involved locally…and often vice-versa, too.
If you’re currently engaged in serving children—as a foster or adoptive parent or mentor, in a church ministry team, or in social work—join us in Orlando in November. And if you’re able, help us spread the word through social media, email or otherwise. It’s going to be great!