When it comes to processing complex emotions as a result of trauma, children do not have the same ability to identify and articulate the things that are bothering them. As a result, it is common for foster children to exhibit the pain of their trauma through behavioral outbursts. Adults in a parenting or mentorship role to the child can play a strong role in helping the child understand their emotions and teach them how to express powerful emotions effectively. One of the greatest ways to build this connection is through play. Below are some suggestions on how to use play to unlock emotions and thoughts that a foster child might be struggling with.
This February we encourage churches to take an opportunity to show love towards adoptive parents, grandparents, foster parents or any caregiver within your congregation by hosting a Kids’ Night Out. Show your love by providing caregivers a worry-free night out with a spouse or significant other while the kids are having a safe, fun-filled night at the church. Being a caregiver, especially of kids who’ve experienced trauma, can be a difficult job. Here are some steps to consider when planning.
Foster care is supporting children and their parents during a period of separation. This involves co-parenting with the child’s biological parents. Co-parenting can be one of the hardest parts of a foster parent’s job. Done well, co-parenting can be an important factor in the child’s smooth return home and reduce the likelihood the child will reenter foster care in the future. Co-parenting is a gift to kids in foster care because they see the adults in their life working as a team and struggle less with divided loyalties. The foster parent can also serve as a healthy parenting role model for the biological parents.
TIPS for Co-Parenting:
Happy New Year! This season creates the opportunity to reflect on the year passed and look forward to setting new goals in the year ahead. If you find yourself inspired by a fresh start, here are some foster care resolutions to consider setting to support your foster family. At Project 1.27, we are praying for renewed energy and enthusiasm for all our families and their support team members.
Check in regularly: Set a phone/calendar reminder to pray for and contact your foster family regularly. Inquire of your family about any updated information or needs they have and share with the rest of the support team if there are any needs the team can meet.
Calvary Belmar is one of the most recent Foster Adoption Friendly Churches certified by Project 1.27. By developing their foster and adoption ministry and having staff attend Trauma Informed Church Training, Calvary Belmar has created an environment where:
The process began with phone calls, email exchanges and completing the More Than Enough survey. The survey assisted Calvary Belmar’s committee in developing next steps they could take in order to achieve their ministry goals. Here’s information shared by Calvary Belmar about their ministry:
“Although the healing of the children in foster care is our greatest priority, the need for prayer is not limited to the children. There are biological and foster families, caseworkers, advocates and the many volunteers and other professionals involved in the welfare of each child. But it can be difficult to know the many needs of so many people.”
Calvary Belmar challenged the congregation to pray for those in the Foster Care system using created by the Christian Alliance For Orphans.
Calvary Belmar now has a full foster care and adoption ministry which advocates for children in foster care, provides safe and stable foster and adoptive homes for children in crisis, and provides support for the foster and adoptive families.
Join Calvary Belmar in providing support and prayer along with safe and stable foster homes for our most vulnerable children. Caring for vulnerable children can be part of every church culture. Contact Project 1.27 for more information about developing your church foster care and adoption ministry.
“How will this impact the children already in our family?” Sadie, 11 and Shafer, 7 agreed to share some sibling insights on foster care and adoption. Two years ago, Sadie & Shafer welcomed their first foster sister, Elora. November 2019, Sadie and Shafer joined a huge group of supporters to celebrate Elora’s adoption. Sadie and Shafer’s best advice to other kids who are anticipating a new sibling from foster care, “Just love them and accept them as a brother and sister. “
The siblings also have some advice for parents who are anticipating the addition of a new foster sibling
Sadie shared, “Answer the questions your kids have. Have a bunch of friends around who will support them. Take your kids on special dates so they know you still care about them. We had breakfast with dad.” To these wise words Shafer added, “Love them!”
A Safe Place for Everyone in the Family
Although adding a foster sibling to the family is exciting for the children already in the home, when a family is placed there are a myriad of changes occurring. Trauma can manifest itself in the form of challenging behaviors that are emotionally, even physically challenging. As a result, building healing connection and trust with a foster child requires a high level of parental attention. Sometimes other children in the family may feel neglected or forgotten during this intense process. Below are some suggestions to ensure that the needs of all children in the family are nurtured during placement.
Prepare children for possible challenges: As is appropriate – and while maintaining respect for the foster child – consider having a conversation with existing children about the needs of a new child coming into the home. Encourage children to ask questions and keep explanations appropriate for their developmental phase.
HHS recently announced a new proposed regulation. If finalized, this regulation would help protect the ability of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children and families in partnership with
government while remaining true to their deeply-held religious beliefs. (More information below).
HHS is committed to fully enforcing the civil rights laws passed by Congress. The proposed rule would
better align its grants regulations with federal statutes, eliminating regulatory burden, including burden on the free exercise of religion. HHS is affirming that it will comply with all applicable Supreme Court decisions in administering its grants programs.
Read the proposed rule.
Read the Notice of Nonenforcement.
Health and Human Services Grant Regulation.
The approval of these regulations will likely depend, in part, upon statements of support submitted by
child-serving organizations and families to HHS prior to midnight on December 19.
Consider submitting a story or letter that supports your beliefs on this proposed regulation before
December 19. Simple comments and stories can be meaningful and affirm policies that welcome and
accommodate faith-based organizations.
Project 1.27 is a member of CAFO (Christian Alliance for Orphans). CAFO has submitted the attached
letter to HHS which does a great job outlining the possible impacts on faith-based organizations focused on foster care and adoption.
Comments must be received by midnight on December 19, 2019.
Your voice can make a difference!
The holiday season can be an eagerly anticipated time of year, but for children in foster care, it can also be a difficult and emotional time. This may be their first holiday separated from biological family, and there may be triggers of sights, smells, sounds, and traditions that cause them to miss home. This may result in challenging behavior as a child attempts to process intense emotions such as sadness, homesickness, confusion or anger. Keep in mind the following trauma-informed tips to help your foster family enjoy the season. The holidays can bring opportunities to create special memories and experiences with foster children and enhance the bonds they have with foster family and community.
Nationally there are over 440,000 children in foster care, and in Colorado well over 5000 children in foster care with 590 legally free for adoption. When we hear these numbers our hearts typically go out to the children affected; we shake our heads, nod and say that it’s a terrible thing. But what can we do after that? What can we do to support children in foster care, their foster families and birth families? Maybe your church can recognize National Adoption Month by supporting families who are interested in fostering and adopting children or celebrate adoptive children and their families. If you’re not sure what steps to take, here’s a few to consider.