Last month, the National Council for Home Safety and Security listed Helena as the safest place to live in Alabama.  Pelham came in 9th and Alabaster was number 16.  But, life in our area is not cozy and sweet for everyone.  Jesse and I have been foster parents for 16 months.  In that time, we’ve started seeing a different side to the stories you hear in the news.  You start to read between the lines. You rarely hear about a child going into foster care in the headlines.  But, if you’re paying attention, it’s right there in front of you.  In each arrest, in each drug bust, there are probably innocent kids involved.  Each of those kids has a face and name.

There are only about 60 licensed families in Shelby County right now.  Last I heard, there were 170 kids in care in Shelby County.  Of those 60 homes, some are at capacity and cannot take any more children into their home.    The number of kids coming into care is increasing rapidly.  In 2014, there were 475 petitions to remove a child from a home, 40% of those were DHR.  In 2015, there were 600 petitions filed, and 47% of those were DHR.  In 2016, there were 1001 petitions filed and 82% were DHR.   The number of kids who need someone to stand up for them is growing. 

So… how can you help? 

PRAY – Pray for the kids, pray for the families of the kids, pray for the foster families that take the kids in, pray for the social workers, lawyers, judges and everyone involved. 

SUPPORT the foster families that you know.  Bring a meal, offer to do laundry, offer to run errands or go to the grocery store, give the parents a date night, help with yard work. 

VOLUNTEER – Shelby County Foster Parents Association meets in Pelham on the 3rd Monday night of every month.  They always need people to help with childcare during this meeting.   Volunteer a shift or two at The Hangar.  The Hangar is a building full of clothes where foster parents can “shop” for their placements.  Cakes and Cupcakes bakes birthday cakes for kids in care.  Fleece the Flock makes blankets for kids in care.  If you are interested in getting involved in any of these opportunities, please let me know and I will point you in the right direction! 

GET LICENSED – There’s no convenient time to become a foster parent.  It will always be easier to not be a foster parent. Do not let a fear of getting too attached keep you away.  It’s not about you.  It’s about the kids that need you. It’s about living out the gospel in your own home.  It’s not for everyone, but if this is something God is leading you, sign up for classes to take the next step.

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