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Month of Prayer, Week 3: Keeping Families Together

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

 

“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!

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Where do hope, joy, peace, and love fit in places of pain?

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Hope. Joy. Peace. Love.

We talk about these four words a lot during the Christmas and Advent season. While they absolutely contribute to the warm, fuzzy, Christmas-movie feelings I love to have, they also read as a challenge. In the context of Christ’s birth and where we find ourselves as God’s people, it’s been helpful for me to remember just how radical these words really are.stocksnap_96rtp23cu4

DC127 exists because there are children spending this Christmas season (and the months after it) without a family or away from their home. We exist because there are parents struggling to keep their children out of foster care in the face of poverty, homelessness, and crisis. We exist because in the past two weeks alone, we’ve gotten calls from 6 single moms who are struggling to keep their children home – moms who love their children, but can’t do this alone.

When I think about the challenges facing these mothers, their children, and the children in DC’s foster care system, having hope, feeling joy and love, and being at peace is hard. Where do these four simple words fit in places of brokenness, systemic injustice, and so much pain?

This is when these words become radical, because they ask you to go against everything you see in front of you. We have to make an active choice to believe them. The Advent season is a reminder that Christ’s birth and the promise He brings is the reason for our hope, joy, peace, and love.

Maybe we should change it: Active Hope. Active Joy. Active Peace. Active Love.

Despite the pain and brokenness we see, perhaps:
Active hope is a call to action, believing things will change and staying discontent with the status quo.
Active joy is not letting despair win out, even when we feel stuck and without a path.
Active peace remembers that we serve a God bigger than the injustice we see.
Active love is doing the hard work of loving our neighbor despite differences, and carrying their burdens not in charity but in true relationship.

This isn’t always easy to remember, but as I think about the last year with DC127, I think about the many people in our network who demonstrate what it means to live out active hope, joy, love, and peace.

I think about the foster parents who stepped out not only to care for a child, but to love his mother and siblings as well. I think about the team who wrapped around a single mom of four, ensuring she had support and also bringing her into their church community and showing her the peace of Christ.stocksnap_76kvxq6tjy

I think about the ways many of you have supported DC127’s families through babysitting, donating diapers, or bringing joy through a meal:

  • the babysitter who spent the night at a foster home to give them some sleep,
  • the Host Home who picked up a child late at night after a house fire,
  • the couple who generously sent diapers, wipes, and clothes all across the city to support foster and host homes.

I think about each of you who have invested financially in DC127, and who have invested in the future hope of a city where no child waits for a home.

There are too many stories to list here. Thank you for the ways you’ve loved and shown peace to DC this year. I pray as you go through the Advent season you see the active hope, joy, love, and peace of Christ in your life.

Merry Christmas!

-Chelsea Geyer

DC127 Executive Director

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Giving Day 2016 is coming up! Read Aniya’s story and why we need you

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**BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! Your donation on Giving Day can be matched! Thanks to a few generous donors, every gift made will be matched, dollar-for-dollar up to $15,000! Click here to donate and double your impact.**

Hello,

We have a big day coming up – a day where we absolutely, 100% need you: November 3rd is our 2016 Giving Day.

Giving Day is one-day, online campaign where we’re asking each of you to give what you can towards finding homes for children in foster care and supporting families in crisis.

I want to tell you a quick story about one of those families.

We recently got a call from Aniya. Aniya is a single mom who loves her son but is currently homeless. Not too long ago, she even had to lie about waiting for a doctor in the hospital so her son could sleep safely in the waiting room. Aniya is a veteran. She is da2dc528-5954-4ed3-b60b-0328e396e97a (1)working hard to get back on her feet. She’s in a jobs program, and making strides. But she can’t do it alone. Aniya deserves to get the help she needs to keep her son out of foster care. We believe this is what the church is good at. And this is what Giving Day on November 3rd is all about.

On November 3rd, will you invest in DC127 and create the bridge between Aniya’s family and a supportive community who can help her reach her goals?
(Sign up to get a personal reminder here)

Last year on Giving Day, you raised $30,000. This year, our goal is to hit $40,000. This money will allow us to continue recruiting foster homes so children have stable places to live and to continue providing supportive communities to families like Aniya’s. We think you’re reading this blog because you agree that children deserve to grow up in a home and have a family. Giving Day is a chance for you to help ensure that every child in DC has the chance to grow up in a stable family.

When you give on Giving Day, you’ll be equipping us to reach out to more churches, recruit more foster homes, and find more volunteers who are willing to walk with parents like Aniya.

It costs us $28 to train one Safe Families Host Home, $46 to present to a new church, $75 to present valuable information to about 6 prospective foster families, $100 to cover the entire intake process for one family in crisis and the list goes on (you can see the whole list here). The moral of the story is that when you give any amount, you are tangibly investing in the lives of children and families in DC. You are making sure that kids in foster care have homes to go to and that when a single mom like Aniya feels like she’s run out of options, she has somewhere to call.

When you give on November 3rd, you’re investing in children and families in DC.

We have a big vision. We are asking you to donate because you share our vision that Washington, DC can be a place where every child has a home and families get that support they need to stay together. We are asking you to donate because you, like us, refuse to let parents like Aniya live in isolation.

IMG_6348 (1)Will you give on our November 3rd Giving Day and create the bridge between families like Aniya’s and the communities in our churches that will help her thrive?

You can click here to pledge a gift and we’ll send you a personal reminder on November 3rd.

We’re excited for Giving Day. We’re excited because it’s a day where people in DC show their commitment to the kids and families in
– Chelsea, DC127 Executive Director

P.S. We’re also hosting a happy hour on November 3rd to celebrate the work everyone in the DC127 movement has accomplished this year. Join us at The Prospect on U ST from 6pm-9pm. RSVP here!

P.P.S. If you’ll be out of town on November 3rd, or just want to donate early, you can click here and donate anytime.

Want to hear how DC127 has helped one DC family? Hear Ms. H’s story here:

 

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

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!

 

 

Know a foster/adoptive parent? Learn how to support them

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RSVP Here

Foster care is beautiful. Adoption is beautiful. But foster care is tough. And adoption is tough.

For families who open their homes through foster care or adoption, it can often feel like the people in their closest community don’t understand what they are doing or why they are doing it. Opening your home can be a very isolating experience, and over 50% of foster families aren’t fostering one year after their first placement because it can be so lonely.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Churches can be places of support for these families, so the families can provide the best care possible to children, and children get the family and foundation they need to thrive. And this is what DC127 is all about.

We want to make your church and every church in DC a loving community for foster and adoptive home. On September 12th, we’re hosting a Parent Support Workshop, led by folks from Embrace Texas. This one-day workshop will equip church leaders, volunteers, and advocates with needed tools to support families in their community.

Lunch, childcare, and training materials are provided in your training registration fee (early bird is $20 for individuals, and $15 per person for teams of at least three).

We know this is will be an important and valuable day. We also know that our dream of a city where there are enough families for children can be a reality – but only when families have the support they need.

Join us on September 12th and be part of making Washington, DC a place where families get the support they need.

RSVP Here

Download the Flyer Here

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