CUMMING, Ga. — Foster care children are shuffled from homes all around the country, but few realize some of these children live right here in Forsyth County.
FaithBridge Foster Care, a faith-based organization intent on changing the way America does foster care, held a community conversation on Sept. 17 at The Vine Community Church, 4655 Bethelview Road.
This was the fourth community conversation FaithBridge has held since June, and Bill Hancock, co-founder and president of the organization, said these conversations allow community members to learn what they can do to help solve the complex problem of the foster care system.
“When you foster, the challenge is that you take on a lot of complex interpersonal relationships with the children, the family of origin the children are coming from and the complex systems in the community that are designed for those children,” Hancock said. “When you invite a child into your home, you’re inviting an entire community system into your home.”
Hancock said FaithBridge’s model provides a feasible solution to the current foster care system.
“The No. 1 reason why people start and stop participating in foster care is that they become overwhelmed with the multiple systems,” Hancock said.
The organization’s small group model, Community of Care, provides Christian foster families with unparalleled support and resources to avoid this particular issue.
FaithBridge hires family consultants to act as a mediator between the family and the systems, so that the foster family can focus on the child’s immediate needs.
The family consultant remains a constant relationship factor to that child during his/her life in foster care and until a permanent family has been determined.
“This enters into the relational accept of the resource coordination, which fundamentally is healing to these children,” Hancock said. “It’s not services, it’s the people that commit to them.”
Since its inception in 2008, FaithBridge has handled about 500 cases with a zero percent institutional abuse rate, and Hancock contributes this success to the combination of their model and partnerships with local churches.
Hancock is no stranger to the isolation of being homeless, as he was left to fend for himself when he was 15 years old.
He said he struggled for years until he found a church that finally made him feel at home, and he has been on a mission to serve and restore families ever since.
“The church has a robust infrastructure and it is filled with caring people who are compelled to make room for their neighbor,” Hancock said. “That is one of the strategic reasons why the church is the solution.”
Members from The Vine, Browns Bridge Community Church, Midway Community Church, Freedom Tabernacle and more attended the conversation to ask how they could become part of the movement to change the foster care system.
For more information, visit www.faithbridgefostercare.org.