Adopt a local Family Service Worker

May is National Foster Care Month. Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries (ABCHomes) is participating in this effort by encouraging churches to adopt local Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) family service workers (FSW).

These dedicated individuals have the unenviable task of determining if a child should be removed from his or her home. These homes, at times, are unsafe not only for the child but also for the FSW.

To make matters worse, in the past year 1,425 children were removed from their homes after normal working hours due to immediate danger, often in the middle of the night.

ABCHomes is asking churches to begin ministering to FSWs in their counties this month by preparing “after-hour care packets.” Most of the time, workers are equipped with items to address the child’s needs. The focus of this effort is to take care of the workers.

Many of these workers are parents. On any given night, workers may have a child in their backseats who has not been bathed, is wearing filthy clothes and is possibly infested with lice. The next morning, workers may put their own child in that same car seat to drive to school. Providing something as simple as sanitizing wipes or spray is helpful so that workers can feel safe allowing their own child to ride in their personal vehicles.

Other items for the packet could include lip balm, water, hand sanitizer packets, snacks or small flashlights. It would also be nice to include a soft praise and worship CD
workers to listen to as they return to their homes after placing the child in a safe place.

ABCHomes has created a plan to help churches create a local child welfare ministry.

In addition to adopting an FSW, ABCHomes’ Connected Foster Care ministry is equipping local churches to address the foster bed shortages in their communities.

 Connected provides and/or mobilizes resources needed to make foster care successful in Arkansas while giving Baptist churches an opportunity to take active roles in ministry to foster care children, families and state FSWs, and  also, at the same time, reaching out to the biological families of foster children with a goal of reunification.

 Besides ministering to children in Connected foster homes, ABCHomes also meets the needs of children and teens in crisis by providing residential care at the Baptist Children’s Home in Monticello and the Boys Ranch in Harrisonin addition to emergency receiving homes in Judsonia, Paragould and West Fork.

To receive an “after-hour care packet” idea sheet to share with your church or to learn more, email or call (800) 838-2272, ext. 5167.

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