Foster Care and Adoption

Month of Prayer, Week 5: The power of the Church

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As our Month of Prayer comes to a close, we would like to thank Megan Roberts for all her help on this blog! Read Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4 posts here on how we can help and pray for our city.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” –James 1:27

The Church is the institution God uses to show who His people are and a crucial part of how the love of God is demonstrated to a hurting world. The Church creates disciples who teach and obey Christ, and here, in James 1:27, we find exactly what kind of obedience God is after.

Praise God for the 15 churches who are currently partnering with DC127 and for the ways that we have seen God move through these churches to care for the vulnerable in the city.

This week we are praying for the churches who have already started partnering with DC127 and for more churches to join in their efforts. DC127 recognizes the power of the Church and believes that, if united, the Church could tangibly change the way things operate for children and families in the District.

This week will you prayer that the churches of DC will:

  • Care for children in foster care, single mothers, and other vulnerable families in our city in part by bringing new churches into the DC127 movement
  • Make disciples who open their homes and create cultures in their community where people who have been marginalized are welcomed and accepted
  • Find favor with the people of this city, including governing officials, that the work of DC127 might be more easily accomplished
  • Support those families among them seeking to host, foster, or adopt, and those that have fostered or adopted already

Here are some resources to learn more:

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

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 4: Praying for Social Workers

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This month we’ve been taking time to pray for different pieces of the child welfare system. Thank you again to Megan Roberts who has volunteered to write these and lead us this month!

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
Isaiah 1:17

Social workers are those professionals that help facilitate and advocate for the welfare of the vulnerable. DC127 regularly interacts with social workers who refer families to Safe Families, who help facilitate our families’ interactions with public services and welfare, and who advocate for and partner with us on an ongoing basis. Social workers also serve foster families and ensure they have what they need to care for the children in their home. Social workers are the glue that keeps the child welfare system together.

As we work alongside social workers in the DC region, we ask that you partner with us in praying for these professionals in the following ways:

  • That God would call more people to the field of social work, and equip them with the professional and relational resources to make impactful change in their communities
  • That God would prevent burnout in existing social workers, specifically for DC Child and Family Services Agency workers and DC social workers at various agencies, providing them with life-giving activities outside of work and healthy work-life balances
  • That God would bless social workers’ interactions with their clients and government officials, that the needs of their clients would be met in God-glorifying ways

Interested in learning more about how the church can work with and serve social workers?

And then check out these videos:

 

Month of Prayer, Week 3: Keeping Families Together

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“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” – Revelation 21:4

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” – Ephesians 3:14-16

Keeping Families Together 

God created the family in His image, and what hurts the family hurts God. From Genesis to Revelation, we see the ways that God designed the family to be a place of human flourishing.

Unfortunately, there are serious obstacles facing the unity of families today. Poverty and hunger make it difficult for many parents to adequately care for their children, and over 17,000 DC families accepted TANF assistance in 2014. This and other factors drive up the number of children in group homes – situations that can cost up to ten times more to raise each child in then it would cost to raise them in a single-family home.

Despite these challenges, God offers hope. In Revelation, He tells John that He is preparing a kingdom where all things will be made new – a kingdom unaffected by poverty, hunger, sickness, or death. A kingdom formed of one, insoluble, family.

This week, will you join us in praying:

  • That we – the church in DC – would be able to help prevent the breakup of families by foster care, and shine a beam of that perfect kingdom into a very broken world.
  • That parents struggling to care for their children would have access the resources needed to keep their children happy and healthy, and their families together.
  • That there will be an increase in affordable housing in the District, and that the thousands of families struggling to pay rent or find a safe place to live will get the help they need. Pray also for protection and an increase in the valuable benefits DC families need to survive.
  • That more volunteers will step up to care for struggling families. Pray for more Host Homes to temporarily care for children to give parents space to strengthen their families, and for an increase in other Safe Families volunteer roles so that parents get the help they need.
  • That marriages in impoverished communities would strengthen, that husbands and wives would care for each other, and that both would care for the children in their charge.
  • That single parents in the District will get be connected to a supportive community. Pray especially for single parents who are living in poverty and struggling to care for their children and strengthen their family alone.
  • That children put into foster care would be able to be reunited with their families. Pray that while children are in care they would be able to maintain a connection with their parents and families. Pray for foster parents to know how to support and strengthen those bonds.

Thank you for praying with us!

Interested in finding more ways of helping your city?

Here are resources to help you get more 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 Megan Roberts for her help on this blog!

Month of Prayer, Week 2: For children in foster care and the families caring for them

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Last week, we prayed for our city, asking that the church steps up for vulnerable children and families. This week, join us in praying for the children in foster care and the families who care for them. Thanks to DC127 Church Coordinator Megan Roberts for writing the blog!

For the children in foster care and those caring for them:

In DC alone, around 1,000 children and teens are living in foster care and over 100 of these children need to be adopted. DC is also currently facing a shortage of foster homes to care for these children.

In DC, 95% of children in the foster care system are African American, compared to 24% nationally, reflecting incredible disproportionality. As we pray for foster care in DC, let’s not forget we must also pray and advocate for racial justice in the systems that affect these children’s lives.

In Matthew 18, as Jesus’ disciples ask him who the greatest in the Kingdom is. Jesus uses a child to remind us that in heaven, those who humble themselves, not those who seek exultation, will be considered the greatest. He makes this bold declaration:

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me”

This week, will you join us in praying for:

  • Families currently fostering or in the licensing process: Pray that they would find the resources they need to foster or adopt and care for children well. Pray that God continually provides the strength, support, and resources they need to thrive. Pray that churches would be strong sources of support for families.
  • 
The children in foster care: Pray that each child would receive the comfort of Christ, and that their stay in foster care will be short. Pray that children will be reunified with their families, and for the children who need to be adopted, pray that an adoptive home is found quickly.
  • New families created through adoption and foster care: Pray that God will bind them together and they would be full of Christ-like love, joy, and peace.
  • More foster and adoptive homes: Pray for more people to step up to foster and adopt from foster care until there are enough homes for every child, and pray that the churches of Washington, DC will be able to support these families.
  • For justice in the systems surrounding foster care: Pray for other government systems to uplift and care for the poor.

Thank you for praying with us!

Interested in finding more ways of helping your city?

Here are resources to help you get more involved:

 

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

 

Watch four successful college graduates talk about their lives post foster care and the advice they have for current kids in the foster care system:

Month of Prayer, Week 1: Praying for our City

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DC127 is a movement of churches that believes God has called us to care for children in foster care and children at-risk of entering care. We also believe that we won’t be able to do any of this unless we rely on God.

Like last year, we’re going to mark the month of February as a month of prayer. We’ll be posting blogs each Wednesday that cover a different topic and invite you to pray with us for our city, kids in or at-risk of foster care, their families and the families who care for them, and for churches to respond in love and action. You can sign up here to get a reminder when the blog is posted. We also want to thank our amazing Church Coordinator, Megan Roberts, for writing these posts.

Praying for our City

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

1,500 children are at risk of entering foster care and receiving in-home services in Washington, DC. Around 1,000 children are currently in foster care. Nationally, over 415,000 children are in foster care, and over 110,000 of those children are waiting to be adopted.

The numbers are staggering. These statistics paint a dire picture for the most vulnerable in our city- those children at risk of losing a family, those mothers raising children by themselves in precarious circumstances.  As Christians, we are called to look after the vulnerable and keep ourselves from being polluted by the world. We live in a fallen world with broken cities where families are separated or unable able to provide for their needs. While we live in a fallen world, we know we are called to a higher purpose: to follow a God that is merciful and just who cares for the vulnerable and calls us to follow Him.

This week, will you pray with us for:

  • Believers in our city and around the world: Pray we will look after those who are vulnerable and advocate for the marginalized in our cities.
  •  Those who are in distress in Washington, DC: There are 1,491 homeless families in DC, and many more living in poverty and crisis. Pray God would comfort each of them and provide relief. Pray that our city’s leaders will represent them and affect change on their behalf. Pray for an increase in jobs and resources available to these families to help them stabilize their families.
  • The professionals who serve in social services in DC: Serving in social services can mean long, hard and emotional days. Pray that these workers will get rest and relief, and pray that the organizations and systems they work in will operate to the benefit of the vulnerable in our city.
  •  Churches: Pray churches would be a light in a broken world and at the forefront of caring for those in need. Pray for increased partnership between churches and city agencies. Pray that social workers can come to rely on churches to care for those in need and to help them as they serve our city.

Thank you for praying with us!

Interested in finding more ways of helping your city?

Here are resources to help you get more involved:

 

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

 

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

 

Giving Thanks: Finding the Blessings in the Challenges of Serving Others

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By: Amy Hammond

fullsizerenderThanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.

Don’t get me wrong: I love celebrating the birth of our Savior and the renewing of faith that it brings each December… as well as the promise of redemption that comes alongside Easter Sunday. But Thanksgiving, to me, is a reminder to celebrate one of the most important tenets of walking in a life of faith: gratitude.

I have nice clothes, a safe home and a dependable car. I’ve been blessed with a devoted husband, a loving family and a supportive church community. These are all gifts I thank God regularly for giving me.

But what about my calling—my ministry? Am I thankful for the acts of service God has called me to?

As a foster mother, I’ll be the first to confirm that the things He asks of us are not always easy. From blow-torching lead paint off the walls in preparation for getting our license, to the equally fiery battle faced every day in advocating for the kids I serve—this is far from an easy job.

Particularly when it is time to let go.

My husband and I had a little boy placed with us in July at just a few weeks old. He was so tiny… and so sick. We spent many sleepless nights trying to understand this little one’s needs. One very specific feeding protocol and doses of medication later, this tiny guy has blossomed into a strong, happy and healthy six-month-old. He lights up when we walk into a room, and snuggles against our chests when he’s ready to sleep. As young as he is, he has grown to understand that he can trust us to take care of him. People who are not his family. People who—as is the case for many foster children—he might never have seen again once home with his family.

img_5468That’s why, as hard as we’ve worked to get to this point with this little human, we’ve worked twice as hard to show the same love toward his family, too. It started with letters and baked goods on visitation days, and has transformed into something much more. We’ve been invited to celebrate birthdays and graduations. A new house. And soon, even in the midst of loss we are bound to feel, we will also celebrate the reunion of this child we have come to adore with his wonderful mother.

Don’t get me wrong: Relationship is messy. It has meant forging new territory, all while trusting that the promptings we hear come from God. We are following where He is leading us in loving on this family, even when it might feel foreign to everyone involved.

Throughout this journey, people have shown us gratitude. They thank us constantly for what we do, for the sacrifice we must be willing to make. But the truth is, we don’t have to do this… we get to do this.

Matthew 20:28 says, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” I have served this baby boy and his family, not for earthly recognition or eternal reward, but because this is not my life. It is His breath in my lungs, so I live God’s gift in a way that honors the One who gave it. Serving His children is such a blessing to me, and a calling I am incredibly thankful for.

There are moments in serving when you know unequivocally that God walks alongside you. His love for us is evident in the blessings that overwhelm by their magnitude, those bigger than you ever thought to pray for.family-pic

Two weeks ago this beautiful little one’s strong and selfless mother asked us to be his godparents.

Even as I was mourning the end of this season, God was still writing the story.

There’s a question my church asks often: Are you putting a period where God has put a comma? With this holiday quickly approaching, I beg you to pray about the story He’s writing for you right now. Let’s look at the struggle with gratitude, as this is the gorgeous mess He’s using to mold us. Let’s give thanks that He is the savior of the world, and He carries that world—and all of us, so precious in His sight—within His capable hands.

Amy is a foster parent in Washington, DC. She and her husband, Adam, have cared for 4 children in foster care over the last year. 

What Happened To You? A Lesson In Trauma Informed Care

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By Amanda Coquyt, DC127 Fellow and MSW Candidate

DC127 is hosting a Trauma Informed Care Training on October 6th. This blog explains why trainings like this are so important for volunteers that work with families who may have experienced trauma. Learn more and RSVP for the training here

When I started as a social worker in the foster care system in 2008, I thought I was going to change the world. I had dreams of connecting with children and families, fixing all of their problems, and knowing what an impact I had on their future as I left them to live happily ever after. Did I mention I had zero experience with the foster system before I got my social work degree? It’s also worth noting that I had led a pretty great life overall. Trauma was a foreign concept that we skimmed over during my brief training to become a case manager. But, I quickly learned that trauma impacts a person from infancy throughout their adult lives. Not only does trauma impact individuals emotionally, but it also impacts behaviors, personalities, and relationships.

Fast forward to 2009. I was a seasoned case manager by that point (it doesn’t take long!) and had one incredibly challenging 16-year-old teenager on my caseload, Melissa. She was confident, intelligent, and outgoing. She was also manipulative, sneaky, and struggling with addiction and depression. While we didn’t start out on the best of terms, Melissa came around and we had a decent rapport. And then she ran away. And then she ran away again. And again. No matter where we placed her, Melissa ran. One day she called and told me she was ready to stay put, but she needed to pick up her things from the location she had been squatting at while on the run. I was so excited! I had finally gotten through!

So, I picked her up and left her at her new foster home with the expectation we would see each other the following week, and I headed home filled with pride at how I had been able to get her to stay put. Sure enough, about 15 minutes after I left I got a phone call from Melissa’s new home- she had run away again, taking all of her belongings with her. I was stunned. How could that happen? I had just done everything Melissa asked, and even stopped at McDonald’s to get her a chicken sandwich! I had been kind and helpful. What more could she want?
That’s when I learned perhaps one of the most important lessons about BC1C7B577Churt children. Melissa didn’t do this to damage my pride or waste my time.
She told me she would stay so I would come pick her up from a situation she no longer wanted to be in. She told me she would stay with the condition that her belongings be picked up so I would fit everything into my beat up little car and get her dinner. She did what she had to do to survive. We all cope the best way we know how, and Melissa’s traumatic past had taught her that sometimes you have to manipulate people to get by.

Melissa had been in care since she was 5 years old and was separated from her only sibling. Melissa’s parents had been in and out of her life. Melissa was left to take care of herself the only way she knew how because she couldn’t count on anyone else to do it, at least not for very long. Melissa’s past shaped how she dealt with her present.

I had not suffered any significant trauma before jumping headfirst into child welfare. I certainly didn’t know how to recognize it in others. Even now, all these years later, it’s still easier to react to surface behaviors than to truly dig deeper. Perhaps the best tool I have learned throughout my time as a case manager is to be aware of the possibility that a person could have experienced significant trauma in their lifetime that I may never know about and this trauma affects the way they function in everyday life. Rather than asking why a person is acting a certain way, we need to ask what may have happened in their past to create a need for these behaviors. Recognizing trauma in a person can be very difficult, and understanding it can be time-consuming and exhausting. But the potential positive outcomes can be life-changing. We aren’t here to fix people. We’re here to support hurt children and families in their healing process.

DC127_Foster_Adopt_ParentsMelissa still calls me. Now 24 years old and a mother, we speak at least weekly (and more often when she’s down on her luck). She doesn’t always like what I have to say or the suggestions I make, but she listens. She isn’t the most financially successful person, but she provides a safe, stable home for her daughter. She may not have a formal education, but she is still one of the most empathetic young women I know. She is being treated for her lifelong mental health issues. She is engaging in counseling to process her lifetime of pain.

Thankfully, for Melissa, her trauma now means a commitment to do things better for her daughter, Shannon.

fullsizerenderAmanda grew up in central Florida and worked in the foster care system there for 8 years. She relocated to DC in 2014 and is currently earning her Master’s degree in social work from Catholic University. She’s working with DC127 from May 2016 to December 2016.

How a #FAIL taught me a lot about the world

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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

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cosmic stock photo

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

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cosmic stock photo

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!

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