My beautiful friend Blaire has a heart for foster care. She is a foster care case manager for Tacoma Youth for Christ, which is launching their One Child partnership program this week.
I’m helping to spread the word about this program that supports local foster children, but I’m going to let Blaire do most of the talking. I asked her to share with me about why she became involved in YFC, what their new program is all about and how the community can get involved.
But first, here are some stats for Washington state:
- There are more than 8,000 children in foster care.
- 75 percent of kids in foster care are separated from at least one of their siblings.
- 400 kids age out of foster care each year, without having found permanency.
- 29 percent find permanency through adoption.
- The average stay in foster care for Washington children is approximately 17 months.
Q: Why did you become a part of Youth For Christ?
Blaire: I have always had a passion for working with children. Even as I was growing up, I always felt there was something intrinsically wrong with a child feeling lonely or forgotten or not having a home. The job opportunity at YFC came at a point in my life where I was really searching and feeling like God was asking me to become more involved in serving and loving those in my own community (as I had been previously working in other social service agencies in King County).
We have a saying for our staff here at YFC, that we are “wildly devoted,” and I definitely feel like that is something that is true for me. I feel like I am in the absolute place that God has called me to, and though it’s very difficult some days, there is a reason and a purpose that I am here, to be used to help bring hope and restoration to children and families in my community. Our purpose through our foster care program is to see families restored (children returned home to their birth families). We also believe that every child deserves a permanent home, and in instances when a child cannot return home to their birth family, we strive to find permanent, adoptive families for those children.
Q: What is One Child?
Blaire: Tacoma YFC is a Washington state licensed foster care agency, but the state provides less than 70 percent of the total cost of foster care. One Child is much like a child sponsorship for Washington state foster kids. The heart behind One Child is to enable the surrounding community to rally around these kids placed in YFC foster homes. For $15 a month, or 50 cents a day, anyone can join the movement! In return, every month you will receive the handprint and a bio of a child in care which tells the story of how your money helped him/her. Mother Teresa said, “Maybe if I hadn’t picked up the one child I wouldn’t have picked up the 42,000 others.” This is the heart of one child — every child deserves to know that they are loved, that there is hope, and that they are not forgotten.
Q: How can people get involved?
Blaire: Prayer — for our birth families who are striving to make changes, and feel like there is no hope and that everyone is against them; pray for foster children, who may feel scared, unloved and forgotten. And consider becoming a foster parent. I was at the Refresh Conference last February (a conference put on by Overlake Christian Church in Redmond for foster and adoptive parents) and one of the speakers who was talking about Christ’s command to the Christians to take care of the orphans said “I know that every Christian may not be called to foster or adopt, but I do know that there are Christians out there who are being called that aren’t responding. How do I know this? Because there are still kids out there who need homes.”
My husband and I became a One Child sponsor today. If you want to become one too, visit their website.