Churches To Rally Together To Bridge Gaps In Orphan Care System

Founders of an orphan care initiative said they want to implement a plan that would protect all children in or outside the Foster Care system from being left without a caring family.

Their goal to eliminate the number of children without a caring family to zero can be met by using a church-to-church strategy alongside local government agencies, a plan successfully implemented in the entire nation of Rwanda, they said. Organizers plan to activate the initiative in Orange County and are rallying churches to meet for Vision Night For OC – New Hope For Vulnerable Children scheduled to be held in Anaheim on August 22 at 6:30 PM.

One of the top priorities of the initiative is to completely eliminate the 85 percent failure rate of connecting the 300 to 500 youth who “age out” of the Foster Care system in the county every year.

ORPHAN CARE VISION NIGHT

Leaders for at-risk youth meet in preliminary talks ahead of Vision Night for OC. The goal: eliminate the number of children without a caring family to zero.

“This night represents a beautiful and extremely significant partnership and relationship between churches in Orange County and our local government and community,” said Erin Kim, who is a foster parent trainer through Social Services and Saddleback Community College and enjoys supporting the foster care community as a volunteer through Mariners Church in Irvine. “As the light of the world, the local church should be loving and serving the families and children in our community and no one church can do it alone.

“We need to work together, we need unity and a common vision to love and serve the vulnerable among us.”

Vision Night For OC organizers said that each night there are nearly 2,700 children in Orange County’s Foster Care System that “go to bed with their heart’s crying and silently wishing they had their own permanent loving family.”

“As long as one of these vulnerable children is waiting for that loving, permanent family to take them home, we will not rest,” leaders of the initiative group stated. “With the help of our local government this can be accomplished through a church-to-church strategy working together for a united goal.”

Organizers are asking churches of any denomination or non-denomination to join them for “a night that will go down in history” as the result of churches partnering together to find families for every vulnerable child in the system.

Representatives from the County of Orange are scheduled to attend along with dozens of churches in Orange County to launch this vision.

“This event has been years in the making and it will be a night you don’t want to miss,” organizers said.

Statistics

  • About 40,000 abuse phone calls a year to the County Abuse Hotline and 1,200 enter the system each year as legally qualified abuse cases
  • 3,000 Youth in Foster Care including 300 aged out Youths
  • 70% of Foster Children are being cared for by Relatives
  • Need 150 Resource Families right now since group homes such as Orangewood are being closed
  • Biggest need is for sibling sets, older children over 6 years old and medically challenged Foster kids
  • About 300 to 500 youth age out of the system each year with an 85% failure rate
Sources: Various sources provided by initiative organizers

When asked how churches can work together, Ernie Casarez, who is a Volunteer Ambassador for the Orphan Care Initiative at Saddleback Church, listed the following:

1. Develop a spiritual heart for the orphan (a child not under care by their biological parents)
2. Have a monthly meeting at their church to explore becoming a Foster or adoptive parent and to pass on those candidates to the County or contract agencies
3. Support Foster and adoptive families by becoming trauma trained
4. Remain in contact with each other to refine our three systems so they are applicable to all denominations.

Organizers quoted the following Bible verse in support of their initiative:

“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)

This event will provide the vision, case studies, trainers to train the church trainers and core resource materials already tested and proven effective in Rwanda, Casarez said.

Organizers said space is limited and are asking for those interested in attending to RSVP. For registration on Eventbrite click here. For any other questions, call (949) 609-8555.

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