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How a #FAIL taught me a lot about the world

Posted by | Blog, Faith, Foster Care and Adoption, Safe Families for Children, Supporting Families | No Comments

By Jessica Smith, Safe Families for Children Manager

I grew up in a small farming community in the midwest. There was zero diversity. Our village (yes, it was so small they called it a village) was made up of white, middle class Christians. I was so excited to leave and attend college in a city. On my first day, eager to make friends, I met Mike, an African American man from Detroit. Me, trying to find any connection I could, spotted a round, flat, bristle-filled brush sitting on his desk. “You have horses, too!” I exclaimed with joy (the brush looked exactly like the one I used on my horses back home). He gave me a funny look and hesitantly told me that’s what he used on his hair. I was so embarrassed. #FAIL

IMG_2591Maybe you have a story like this (most of us do- it’s nothing to be ashamed of). In a world with so many cultures, there are bound to be times where our differences collide. If you’re involved with DC127, you’re likely building a relationship with someone or caring for a child who has a different background than you. And that can be scary. But if we truly want to build relationships that cross bridges, and care for children and families well, we must be willing to learn about their culture and become more aware of how different people live life.

There’s a phrase for this: Cultural humility. Cultural humility is about being aware and appreciating where you come from and how that has shaped your perception of the world.
I can’t change where I grew up or what brushes I used for my horse, but I can recognize how my experiences shaped the way I view the world and created the bias I carry around.  Cultural humility means I am aware of how I view the world, but I also take steps to learn about other people’s views and value these differences.

Cultural humility demands openness. We have to admit that we cannot, and will not, ever know everything about the world. We have to be willing to take ourselves out of positions of power and privilege and admit that we don’t know how a parent feels, and we don’t know what they are going through.  Openness allows us to learn from the people we’re walking with, which in turn creates stronger and longer lasting relationships.

Openness allows us to learn from the people we’re walking with, which in turn creates stronger, longer lasting relationships.

So how can we practice the art of cultural humility in our relationships with children and families?

  1. Listen. Really listen to someone’s story. Make sure you’re not just listening to think of solutions. Ask questions, summarize, and reflect on what the person said.
  2.  If you don’t know something about a person, don’t make assumptions. We may never know someone’s whole story. But when we make assumptions, we’re robbing someone of sharing their story with us from their perspective. IMG_2494 (1)There’s an especially high risk of us assuming things about a family because they are involved with Safe Families or foster care.
  3. Get outside of your comfort zone. Try thinking of a situation through someone else’s view. Ask a person where they feel comfortable meeting or eating. For example, your favorite indie coffee shop might make someone else incredibly uncomfortable. What are their favorite places? Maybe they can teach you something new about the city?

When we sign up to walk with a parent or care for a child, we’re not signing up to change or save someone. We’re entering into a relationship amongst equals where we can join together and get through a tough time. We’re modeling love, acceptance, and reliability. We can’t become more focused on fixing the situation, than loving the person and their family. Our relationship with parents and families in crisis must first be an equal relationship between two humans, and not a transaction of help. But in order to achieve this we must respect their culture and humbly admit that we don’t know everything about it.

Month of Prayer, Week 4: For the People of God

Posted by | Blog, Faith, Foster Care and Adoption, Resources and Awareness | No Comments

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We’re marking February as a month of prayer (read more about why this is important here). Join us each week as we pray for a different aspect of the child welfare system and our call to care for children and families. You can read last week’s post here.

In 2012, a small group of people at The District Church were praying about how they could get involved in caring for kids in foster care. Through prayer and investment from other local churches, DC127 was created. The reach of DC127 would not be possible without the efforts of our local churches. We have 10 partner churches, have recruited 23 Host Homes, are serving 10 foster families, and have over 100 volunteers. While we are thankful for the favor we have had so far, the need is still great. There are over 1,100 children in DC’s foster care system, and even more children are at-risk of entering foster care. This week, will you join with us to pray for churches to answer God’s call, care for children and families, and demonstrate the love of Christ to a hurting city?

This week, will you pray with us for:

  • Churches already involved: Thank God for the pastors, deacons, volunteers, and Church Coordinators already helping advance the mission of DC127 in their own communities. Pray that they would continue to sustain their efforts.
  • Future churches working with DC127: Pray that God would continue to call pastors and congregations to labor alongside DC127, and for churches to specifically join us in creating Safe Families teams and supporting parents choosing to adopt or create foster homes. Pray for churches that represent all demographics to join and work together for our city.
  • Church Coordinators: Our Church Coordinators make DC127’s work possible. Thank God for existing volunteer coordinators, who organize and run DC127’s ministry in their churches. Pray that God would continue to grow them and grant them favor as they work with their pastors and congregations to rally support and organize for DC127.
  • Church communities: Pray that the communities around our churches would take note of the work they are doing and respond not only with an interest in the work they do with the foster system, but with open hearts to the Gospel.

Thank you for praying with us!

And we’d like to say a special thank you to Megan Roberts from Restoration Church who wrote the blog for this month. She made these blogs happen. Thank you, Megan!

 

Here are some resources to learn more:

Watch our friend Jason Weber talk about why we all need to bring our gifts, talents, and skills to the table in order to make something awesome happen.

 

Hear our keynote speaker from One City. One Hope 2014 cast a vision for what could happen in Washington, DC when the churches unite:

Month of Prayer, Week 3: For Every Child Welfare Professional

Posted by | Blog, Faith, Foster Care and Adoption | No Comments

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We’re marking February as a month of prayer (read more about why this is important here). Join us each week as we pray for a different aspect of the child welfare system and our call to care for children and families. You can read last week’s post here.

The foster care system in our city is made up of hundreds of social workers, police officers, court officers, counselors, and other government and service providers. This week, we are praying for those who have chosen to make a career out of caring for children and ensuring they have a safe place to live and thrive. And if you’re one of these people, we are grateful for you and your work!

For this week, we talked to a local DC social worker about the challenges she faces and what she needs from her community. Here’s what she had to say:

“A few weeks ago, I met someone and we we were small talking. He asked my husband and I both what we do and he was happy to chat with my husband about the law. And then he awkwardly turned to me with the oh-too-familiar-sympathetic-head-nod and said,’Wow, I don’t know how do you what you do,’ and asked, ‘How do you do it?’ I paused, truly caught in the depth of the suffering I spend all day wading through, and took a moment before laughing awkwardly and shrugging, unable to come up with anything to say. The guy looked at me again and said, ‘What does social work do to you? My sister has been a social worker for 6 years and she gets that same vacant look in her eye when you ask her about it.’

In the “ReMoved” video, pay attention to the social workers face at 4:16, 5:04. I know that look. The resignation, the punched-in-the-gut, I’m trying not to cry because I have to be strong, but I’ve also built a wall to protect myself so it’s not hurting as much as it will hurt when I’m in the car on the way home.

But I have to do what I do. I have to jump in, I have to fight, I don’t have a choice. As a firefighter runs into the burning building, I dive into the brokenness and hurt of a family ripped apart, of innocence torn away, of the system that is so clogged down and distorted that it does the exact opposite of what it was intended to do. And while I go in willingly, sometimes I get stuck there. The darkness swallows me, I give too much of my heart away, and I am too weary to climb out. My work invades my dreams and steals my sleep. My to-do list grows faster than I can keep up with, and every phone call brings more bad news. And yet, I must press on. I must give a voice to the children and families who are overlooked, forgotten, undeserved.

Being a social worker in DC, the contradictions and contrast of the Capital city are staggering. I gaze at the iconic skyline as I drive to homes without running water. I walk past museums and federal buildings to the hollow halls of the courthouse where lives are mutilated more often than they are healed. I spend the day working with a child whose mother has abandoned her, and who has been in eight foster homes in the past year, and then I go to happy hour where it’s all about who you know and what you do, and the ‘I’m a social worker’ line gets that awkward silence and a quick dodge out of the conversation. Occasionally someone will do that familiar, sympathetic nod and say, ‘Wow, that’s hard work, I could never do it.’ I don’t want sympathy, I don’t want pity or misunderstanding or ignorance. What I want is for these people to understand if they saw the world I did, they would have no choice but to do the work.. And, I don’t need people to remind me how hard the work I do is — I am fully aware of that. I don’t need people to tell me I’m a saint — I know how often I fail my clients. What I do need is someone to smile at me, to encourage me, to not shy away from the hard places and to say, ‘What you’re doing is important and it matters. I’m so glad you’re there, keep up the good work.’ I probably won’t believe it at the time, but it might seep in, and in the cold moments of sleeplessness, or the vulnerable moments of a long run, maybe it would sneak back up on me as a glimmer of hope in the midst of despair.”

This week, will you pray with us for:

  • Social workers and other front-line workers: Pray that they would do their jobs with patience, empathy, and wisdom. Pray that God would help them endure through difficult days, equip them as they face new challenges, and encourage them as they work with families and children who in tough situations.
  • Government employees: Pray that they would work with children’s needs first and foremost in their minds, and that the people of DC would have wisdom in choosing local government leaders. Pray that each government worker would be given the resources needed to protect vulnerable children in our city, and strengthened as they deal with hard situations.
  • Child and Families Services Agency (CFSA): CFSA is the government agency that oversees DC’s foster care system. Pray that each employee there would be moved by compassion for the children and families they serve. Pray for Director Raymond Davidson as he leads CFSA and pray for wisdom as he makes decisions and policies that affect so many. Pray for encouragement and strength for the Deputy Directors, supervisors, assistants, and each employee who makes CFSA run.
  • Service providers and non-profits: There are many private non-profit organizations serving kids and families in DC. These groups range from foster care agencies, to mentor organizations, to advocacy groups. Thank God and pray for each citizen serving DC’s children. Pray that God would sustain them as they not only do the hard work of serving children, but also run organizations and find funding. As these groups address gaps in the foster care system, prayer that they get the resources they need, whether that’s funding or volunteers.
  • Police, EMS, and first responders: Pray that they would work unto the Lord, protecting and helping families and children in crisis, and ensuring that children would get the care they need. Pray for their safety and for wisdom as they make quick decisions in tense situations.

Here are some resources to learn more about how government agencies, social workers, and the church interact:

Listen to Dr. Deb Shropshire talk about her powerful experiences as a pediatrician called to the child welfare system and how she remember’s God’s promise amidst so much brokenness:

Hear from Dr. Sharon Ford on why the government needs the church to cross the aisle, learn about the child welfare system, and serve children in foster care:

 

Thank you to Megan Roberts for her help with this post!

Month of Prayer, Week 2: Building New Families

Posted by | Blog, Faith, Foster Care and Adoption | No Comments

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We’re marking February as a month of prayer (read more about why this is important here). Join us each week as we pray for a different aspect of the child welfare system and our call to care for children and families. You can read last week’s post here

When children in foster care aren’t able to return to their family, adoption becomes the new goal. In the US, there are currently 415,000 children living in foster care without the stability of a permanent home. Of those children, over 101,000 are waiting to be adopted, and 32% of them will wait three years or more before they are adopted. Safe and loving foster homes are essential for each child in foster care during their time of transition.

The promise of adoption is central to God’s love for us (Ephesians 1:5). Over and over we are told how much we are loved as children of God adopted into the family of God. We also see verse after verse about God’s call to care for children, for the orphans, for the vulnerable, and we are told that God places the lonely in families. Just as we were lonely and God adopted us into his family, this week will you pray for the children across our country who need to be placed in families?

 This week will you pray with us for:

  • Children who need to be adopted and are unsure of their future: Pray that each child waiting for a stable and permanent home would experience peace and calm. Pray specifically for older youth, who often wait longer for homes, and for children living with disabilities, that they would each find a family that can care for them. Pray that the 552 teens and young adults (53% of all kids in DC foster care) in DC’s foster care system would receive the support, mentors, and families they need.
  • Foster parents who are caring for children for the long term: Pray for sustained encouragement and energy to provide a safe home for children to thrive however long the child is with them. Pray for them as they navigate a complicated system, keep up training hours, and ensure the child is receiving the care he/she needs.
  • Adoptive families: Pray for them as they create bonds with their children. Pray that as a family they would create memories and stories together and become one unit. Pray for wisdom as these parents navigate relationships with the children’s birth families and as they work to meet the specific needs of their children.
  • More adoptive homes: Pray for more homes to hear and listen to call to adopt children from foster care. Pray specifically for more homes to adopt older youth and kids with various needs. Pray for these homes as they go through what can be a difficult licensing process and for them to have patience and support from their community as they start this journey.
  • For Adoption Recruiters: Pray for them as they search for homes for specific children. Pray that the recruiters would divinely meet the right people, attend the right events, and have wisdom as they make potential adoptive matches.

Here are some resources and ways you can be involved:

Watch a powerful 4-minute video from performance poet Shaun Welcome, sharing stories of children in foster care:

FMU – Welcome – Spoken Word Clip from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Watch an 8-minute video on why caring for children in foster care is the responsibility of the church:

 

 

Thank you to Megan Roberts for her help on this blog!

Month of Prayer, Week 1: Keeping families together

Posted by | Blog, Faith, Foster Care and Adoption, Safe Families for Children, Supporting Families | No Comments

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When a child enters foster care, the first goal is always to reunite them with their families as soon as it’s safe to do so. Reunification is a beautiful portrait of the Gospel (Luke 15:11-32), and mirrors the redemption we receive from God. Unfortunately, only half of all children in the foster system are ever reunited with their families, and a third of those return to foster care within three years. This is why it’s also so important to support struggling families before children are ever removed. Every mom and dad should be able to get the help they need to keep their family together.

This week, will you pray with us for:

  • Children who are struggling:  Pray they experience peace and calm, and know they are loved and are able to establish a sense of stability wherever they are
  • Parents who are working to reunite with their children: Pray for strength in what can be a very long and difficult process, and for them to get access to the resources, encouragement, and support they need
  • Foster parents who are caring for children temporarily: Pray for them as they strengthen the child’s relationship with his/her biological family, and for comfort when that child eventually goes home
  • Social workers and organizations working with parents: Pray for wisdom as they make decisions about next steps and resources, compassion as they encounter difficult situations, and strength as their days are often very long
  • Safe Families for Children and other prevention initiatives: Pray for them to be connected with the families who need their support, and for these initiatives to get the volunteers and financial resources they need

Thank you for praying with us!

Interested in learning more about reunification?

Here are some resources and ways you can be involved:

Watch a 4-minute story from a foster dad on how God taught him the importance of loving a child’s biological family:

And here’s a 7-minute video from the Executive Director the national Safe Families for Children network on why prevention work is so important:

 

 

Thank you to Megan Roberts for her help on this blog!

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Update: February is Our Month of Prayer (and here’s why we really need it)

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A few years ago someone asked me what my biggest questions was. What’s one of the biggest questions I pose to God? At the time it was, “God, do I need you?” I knew that I needed God in a meta-cosmic sort of way – keep the sun orbiting, help me not get into car crashes- that sort of thing. But I was in a place where I wasn’t necessarily convinced that I needed God to intervene in my day-to-day.

This Evelyn Christenson quote puts to words a thought I’ve been wrestling with: “We work, we pull, we struggle, and we plan until we’re utterly exhausted, but we have forgotten to plug into the source of power. And that source of power is prayer.”

Since I answered that question a couple years ago, I’ve had moments in my life where, without prayer, I pulled, struggled, and planned and got to the point of being exhausted. And I have a feeling that I’m not alone in this (and that I’ll get to that place again).DC127-0045

DC127 has a big vision. We believe God has called us, the churches and his people in Washington, DC, to care for, love, and support every child in foster care and the struggling families at-risk of being separated into care. We could pull, struggle, and plan our little hearts out (and we’ve definitely done that), but if we actually believe that we’re called to this, then we’re carrying out God’s vision. And if that’s true, then we won’t get far unless we admit our need for God and are in tune with how he is moving throughout DC.

We’re marking this February as a month of prayer for the DC127 network around the children in foster care and their families. Every Wednesday we’ll post a blog and send out an email guiding you to pray for different people and pieces involved in the child welfare system. We’ll pray for the young, single mom who is working so hard to keep her family together and feels like she has nowhere to go. We’ll pray for the teenager who has spent years in foster care and been in too many different homes, and we’ll pray he finds a family that he won’t ever leave. And we’ll pray for the system, for the social workers, the therapists, and all those who work in such a tough field every day.

Will you join us next month as we pray?

Brennan Manning wrote that “when we accept ownership of our powerlessness and helplessness, when we acknowledge that we are paupers at the door of God’s mercy, then God can make something beautiful out of us.” We’re powerless against making real change in DC for kids in care without Christ. We might be able to make a couple small changes, but I’m talking about real, long-term change where kids don’t wait to be in families and parents stop struggling alone. This is the kind of change I’m waiting for. By admitting and corporately acknowledging that we’re not going anywhere without God, I’m confident God will continue to make something beautiful through us.

I’m excited for February,

-Chelsea, DC127 Director

 

If you don’t get our newsletters, click here to sign-up and get reminders to pray each Wednesday.

10 Questions About Being A Family Friend, Answered

Posted by | Blog, Mentoring, Safe Families for Children, Supporting Families | No Comments

You might have heard us talk about Family Friends, and when you hear that term, it might be a little confusing. Have no fear, this blog is here.

Family Friends have one main goal- build an intentional friendship with a parent experiencing a tough time, encourage them, and be a listening ear.

So, what does this look like exactly? Instead of us explaining it, we brought in one of our wonderful Family Friends, Robyn Brooks. Robyn was one of our first Family Friend’s and she took some time to tell us what she’s learned through this process.

First off, what is a Family Friend?

“A Family Friend does just what it sounds like- becomes a friend. The difference is you’re intentionally forming a friendship with a parent that may have no one else in their life they can rely on. So you become that person they can vent to, bounce ideas off of, or just talk about life with. Like any friendship, it takes time to build a relationship so you have to be consistent and in contact on a regular basis. It doesn’t always have to be in person though. You can also text or talking on the phone.”

What drew you to the Family Friend role?

What activities do you do with the parent you’re paired with?

“We have met at a park and let the kids play while we chat.  I went to my Family Friend’s child’s birthday party.  We’ve met up at church and had lunch afterwards.  The activity really isn’t as important as a listening ear.  I am a mother myself (although you don’t have to be a parent to be a Family Friend), and I have had, and continue to have, times as a parent where I am frustrated, confused, or not sure how to proceed.  For example, I wonder: How do you address disobedience in a firm, yet gentle manner with a child who is very sensitive and has a strong desire to please and is easily upset with perceived parental disappointment?

I bring up my parenting struggles because in that time of learning and adjusting to your child’s needs, the last thing I have desired is a lecture or an article to read.  I have needed a listening ear to talk to, to tell stories about my child, and help remember that parenting is a long-term game.  The biggest asset of the Family Friend role is the ability to be a sounding board and provide small nudges after the relationship is established.”

What does a typical month look like as a Family Friend?

“It varies and we are still finding our rhythm.  My relationship may be a bit atypical, in that the biological mother actually has her children full time, so our activities are planned with them in mind.  I call once per week or every other week.  I work full time and we have struggled to find a consistent phone chatting time.  We have had some success when I am able to call on my lunch break.  When the weather was warmer, we were able to meet in person once or twice per month at a park.”

What is the time commitment for a Family Friend?

“I usually make some contact with my parent, whether it be through text, phone call, or email, 3-4 times a month. Sometimes it’s as simple as texting that I’m thinking about her or that I hope she is doing well. I try to meet her in person once or twice a month. In the beginning, we met more in-person to get to know each other better and form a solid relationship. I also pray for her and her family on a regular basis.”  

Did you have a connection with the parent right away?

“Building a relationship takes time. Just because a parent has fallen on hard times doesn’t mean they are going to trust you right away- you have to earn it. My parent and I had a few similarities right from the start (we live close to each other, both have 2 young children, etc.) so we talked about that a lot at the beginning. What’s important is that I was open and honest and asked questions when I didn’t understand something. I also made a point to be consistent. Even if I didn’t hear back from her right away, I wanted to make sure she knew I really cared about her and that I wasn’t going to leave her.

One nice connection we have had is through the children.  At the conclusion of our first visit, we walked from the park to the parking garage, about 4 blocks.  Our daughters, who are very close in age, held hands the whole time. That was very sweet.”

Where do you go if you need help or have a question?

“First, I go to my Family Coach. He’s great about responding, but if I can’t get a hold of him I contact Safe Families staff.”

What’s the difference between a Family Friend and Family Coach?

“As a Family Friend, I form an intentional friendship with a biological parent. I talk with her regularly and give her a place to vent, ask questions, and talk through situations. Family Coaches also talk with parents, but they take a more formal role as they coordinate and talk about goals and progress. While Family Coaches work with everyone involved with a placement, Family Friends primarily focus on the parent.”

How much interaction do Family Friends have with the parent’s children?

“As a Family Friend, my main focus is on supporting the parent. Because we both have children, we often meet at a park so our children can play while we’re talking. My parent has also started coming to church with me so I see her whole family there.”

How has being a Family Friend impacted your relationship with God and your family?

“I have found this role fulfilling.  Having small children, it can sometimes feel like I don’t have much to give outside of keeping the household running.  Prioritizing being a Family Friend sometimes means saying no to preschool parties my kids are invited to or rearranging a weekend to be able to meet.  Doing that – reordering for the sake of being a Family Friend – reminds me that my life SHOULD look like that – reordered to love others as I would love myself.  Hearing the details of another’s life helps compassion grow and makes me ask God, “how else can I serve you?”

 

To become a Family Friend fill out a short application here. Then, you’ll attend a training session. You can find the next training session on our event calendar. Feel free to email Jessica at jessica@dc127.org with any questions.

Giving Day 2015: That time YOU hit it out of the park (and then some)

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To the DC127 network,

Thank you. This morning I’m overwhelmed by your generosity. Yesterday during Giving Day, we had a goal of raising $20,000 total through our matching campaign. As of this morning, we’ve raised $30,262.50. And we are so incredibly grateful.IMG_5235

You made this happen. Each of the 137 of you who gave to Giving Day, each of you who posted on facebook, tweeted, and emailed friends, each of you who give as monthly donors year around, and each of you who serve with DC127 in any capacity – you are the ones that made this happen. And you are building a movement in Washington, DC that refuses to let kids go without homes and families without support.

Thank you. 

I keep a mental record of specific moments where I know God moved. These are moments when something amazing and unexpected happened and I have no other way of understanding it, other than knowing that God was at work in a very real way. Our first Giving Day is now one of those moments. And if you’re reading this, I hope you see that, too. I hope you see that God is moving through churches and through his people for kids in foster care and struggling families.

Your generosity is certainly a measure of how God is moving in our city, but something else happened yesterday that served as a reminder of why we do any of this. One of our families has been struggling to end their court case. Because of Safe Families, their two children were able to come home from foster care, but the parent has still been working incredibly hard to close their family’s case with Child and Family Services. Well- yesterday morning a judge signed a piece of paper saying that the case is closed. Because of Safe Families, the government is no longer concerned about the wellbeing of the children, and they know this family has the support they need. Now this family knows their children are home permanently.

So again, thank you. Thank you for making stories like this possible. Thank you investing in DC127. Thank you for sharing our vision of city where every child has a home and every family gets the support they need. And thank you for being part of DC127.

We are so grateful for you,

Chelsea
DC127 Director

#GivingDay 2015: Can you spread the word for us?

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Because of a few very generous donors, all gifts made towards Giving Day will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000! 

Will you give towards Giving Day and ensure we match all $10,000?

Hey friends,

Giving Day 2015 is coming up on November 12th! (Are you excited? We are.)

Here’s the thing, someone at some point told you about DC127, and you agreed with our vision. Someone shared at your church, posted something online, or told you about this organization they were getting involved with, and you joined in. Our point? DC127 grows when people like you tell other people, and we’ve got a day coming up where we need you to share DC127 with someone else like you. Charli instagram pic

Will you tell your friends, your family, and your coworkers about DC127 and invite them to participate in Giving Day?

You might be surprised by their response.

Can I tell you a quick story? It’s about a single mom named Nicole. Nicole’s daughters entered foster care when Nicole was hospitalized unexpectedly. She had no one to care for her daughters while she was in the hospital, so she made the difficult decision to call Child Protective Services for help and her children entered foster care. When she got out of the hospital, she learned the unfortunate truth of how hard it is to get kids home from foster care. However, because a Safe Families Host Home and other volunteers stepped up, she was able to get her daughters back and now has support should an emergency happen again. She often talks about how grateful she is for her Safe Families team and has even started attending church with them.

Nicole’s story was possible because of people who invested in DC127 and ensured that when Nicole called, we could say yes.  We get calls almost every day from parents like Nicole, and we don’t have enough homes to say yes every time… yet. But we know we can get there.

By reaching out to your friends and family, you’re expanding our network and equipping us to reach churches, train volunteers, and support each person that opens their home. You’re making stories like Nicole’s possible for every family that calls us.

So, will you help us spread the word?

Here are three ways you can be a champion for us:

  1. Set a personal goal of an amount to raise, and then email ten people to share why you care about DC127 and ask them to give towards your goal. (When people give, they can leave your name in the comments and we’ll know they are connected to you). You can also copy “info@dc127.org” on your email.
  2. Post one Facebook post before November 12th and one on November 12th.
  3. Send 5 tweets with #GivingDay and why you care about DC127

Oh, and check it out. To make this easy on you, we’ve included sample emails, posts, and tweets (at the end of this blog).Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 11.34.18 AM

I know it can be scary to ask people to donate, but when you ask someone to donate, you’re giving them the opportunity to be part of God’s work in our city and in the lives of families like Nicole’s. These posts, emails, and tweets will mean more to your friends and family because of your courage in sending them.

If you have any questions at all, you can email us at info@dc127.org and we’ll get back to you right away. Please consider making Giving Day become a success by inviting your family and friends to join.

 And thank you. Thank you for being part of the DC127 team, and thank you for using your gifts, your skills, your network, and your time to grow this movement and to care for kids in foster care and families in crisis.

Seriously. Thank you!

-Chelsea
Director, DC127

P.S. Shaw’s Tavern is hosting a happy hour for us from 6-9pm on November 12th to celebrate. You should come (and invite all your friends)!


 

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Today is @DC127’s Giving Day! When you donate, you build a bridge between families at-risk of being separated by foster care and the support they need. I’d be honored if as my friend, you invested in a movement I care so much about. http://dc127.org/2015-giving-day-november-12th-we-need-you/

Hey friends – I’m part of a movement in Washington, DC called @DC127. On November 12th, they are hosting their first Giving Day. Would you take a second and learn more about it? When you donate to DC127, you help build bridges between families in crisis and the support they need. Learn more and read about a mom named Jackie here: http://dc127.org/2015-giving-day-november-12th-we-need-you/

Tweets!

Post this Tweet: I’m part of #DC127 – would you read about their #GivingDay & invest in support for #DC families? @reversethelist http://ctt.ec/e0sbf+

Post this Tweet: I agree with @reversethelist – every child in #fostercare deserves a loving home. Will you join me? #GivingDay http://ctt.ec/nYE85+

Post this Tweet: #DC can be a city where no child waits for a family. Will you join me & @reversethelist to make this happen? #GivingDay http://ow.ly/Ufjms

Post this Tweet: You can build the bridge between a parent w/ no where to go & a community that will support them. #GivingDay @reversethelist http://ctt.ec/pFQee+

Post this Tweet: #GivingDay is coming up on Nov 12! You can do something for families & kids in #DC http://ctt.ec/2fk6l+

Post this Tweet: It’s here! @reversethelist ‘s #GivingDay-Donate NOW & build a bridge between #DC families & the support they need! http://ctt.ec/_l5pt+

What is a Family Coach Anyways?

Posted by | Blog, Mentoring, Safe Families for Children, Supporting Families, Uncategorized | No Comments

zac and savannah Dc127 picYou might have heard us talk about “Family Coaches” or maybe you haven’t. And when you hear the term “Family Coach” you might just be confused. Have no fear, this blog is here.

Family Coaches = awesome. Family Coaches are what make Safe Families a movement, and they make it possible for us to continually be serving new families and not put a cap on how many families our network can serve.

Family Coaches have three main goals:
1. Make sure the children are safe
2. Make sure Host Homes have the support they need
3. Make sure biological parents have the resources and support they need to move forward

So, what does this look like? What does the Family Coach role entail exactly? Instead of us explaining it, we brought in one of our star Family Coaches, Zac Murphy. Zac has been working with Safe Families in DC for about a year and he’d like to tell you a little about his role as a Family Coach and what he’s learned:

First off, what is a Family Coach?

“When a Host Homes cares for a child, they need support and help coordinating with the child’s parents. That’s where I come in. I visit the Host Home and children on a regular basis, ensure everyone is safe, and make sure the hosts have things like babysitters, clothing, bedding, etc. We talk about how they’re feeling and I update them on the children’s parent’s progress. I also work with biological parents to ensure they are moving forward and have access to needed resources.

Family Coaches keep track of all the moving pieces for a particular placement. Whether it’s someone to talk to or a tangible resource- communication is key and I make sure that’s happening. I report directly to Safe Families staff and can come to them with any questions or concerns.”

Why did you want to be a Family Coach?

Do you need a background in Social Work or Case Management to be a Family Coach?

“I’m a paramedic, so I’m used to working one-on-one with people in what can sometimes be stressful situations. That being said, I have no background social work or case management. The most important thing is that I like working with people, I’m organized, encouraging, and can rally people together. Many people with backgrounds in social service gravitate towards this role, but it’s certainly not a requirement. Family Coaches attend a training to prepare them for the role and they are supported by staff.”

How much time does each case take?

“I usually spend 1-3 hours a week working on stuff for Safe Families. I check in with my Host Home weekly, whether that be in-person or on the phone, and talk with the biological parent at least bi-weekly. Depending on the week, I may also spend time coordinating tasks such as arranging babysitters or transportation, finding resources, or attending a meeting with mom. I only work on one placement at a time, though.”

What tools and supports are provided to Family Coaches?

“I talk with Safe Families staff a lot. If I ever have a question or concern all I have to do is call or email and I get a response shortly after. I also have access to a huge database where I can look up resources all across the city. Before I started Coaching, I went through a day long training that prepared me for the role and gave me lots of resources to look back on.”

Who do Family Coaches have the most interaction with?

“As a Family Coach I get to interact with just about everyone. I talk with my Host Home weekly to make sure they have everything they need and I also get to interact with the children during my in-person visits. I talk with the placing parents bi-weekly during my check ins and sometime I interact with Resource Friends, if a family needs something. In addition, I speak with Family Friends to make sure they’re doing well. I also have more interaction with Safe Families staff then the other volunteers on my team.”

What does a typical week look like for you?

What’s the difference between a Family Coach and a Family Friend?

“Family Friends focus on being friends with the biological parent- they are really there just for the parents. They talk with them at least once a week and give parents a place to vent, ask questions, and talk through situations. Family Coaches also talk with parents, but it’s in a little bit more of a formal role since I coordinate the whole placement. While Family Coaches work with everyone involved with a placement, Family Friends primarily focus on the biological parent.”

How has being a Family Coach impacted you and your relationship with God?

“My time as a Family Coach has been very rewarding. I love how I get to see the families we serve progress forward over time and embrace community. It’s also great to witness the Host Homes living out biblical hospitality and loving on people in their neighborhoods.  God has been teaching me to put my assumptions aside and instead see people through His eyes, which has deepened my relationship with Him.”

 

Interested in being a Family Coach? Email us at volunteer@dc127.org today!

 

 

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