After a brief time working in the foster care system in our city, Lifeline staff quickly learned that the primary goal in most foster care cases is reunification of children with their families of birth. While we are believers in this goal (we know from scripture that God ordained family), it has become evident that, outside of multiple short-term interventions, there are very few , or no, real Christ-centered services being offered to birth parents – services that extend hope for lasting success to them and their children.
Families Count is a Christ-centered, holistic ministry of the Church that focuses on family restoration and preservation. It targets parents who are at-risk for having their children removed from their homes and placed into foster care, and parents who have lost custody of their children and are working toward reunification. There are six classes, or, that parents participate in with the option of being matched with mentors from within the Church.
An overarching goal of Families Count is to point mothers and fathers struggling to raise their children within their homes back to the Church as a viable means of support. The sense of belonging and community experienced within the Church can help families find purpose and remain intact, but most importantly, parents and children can there discover the Source of hope – Jesus Christ!
We recognize that the Church is uniquely equipped by the Holy Spirit for ministry in a way that no other entity is. It has the means to recruit volunteers, engage in acts of service, teach and wrap around families in ways that others cannot. It is our desire that birth families experience the hospitality of the Church and find a place of connection there that will spur them on to success. Also, because mistrust in a system can develop on the part of many parents seeking reunification with their children, agency involvement can be viewed by them as controlling.