December 6, 2022

'My DREAM For Our Communities' by Wendy McMahan, For The Children President

I dream of communities that ensure unconditional love, hope and safety for children!

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”- Nelson Mandela

The Blessing of a Community

Growing up, I was blessed with a wide community of people who cared about me. If my parents had ever experienced a crisis, we would have had neighbors, extended family, and friends from church who would have stepped in to care for us.

Sadly, many children do not have a strong community network to rely upon in times of need. Children enter foster care every day because there is no one in their lives who is safe and willing to take them in after abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

After entering foster care, many children continue to experience the effects of their early childhood trauma as they process their grief and/or loss.

How Children Come Into Foster Care

In every community across the United States, Social Services are present. States and counties employ social workers who ensure the safety of children. In my county, a call to the Child Abuse Hotline triggers a response from Social Services.

When a social worker responds to a call to the Child Abuse Hotline, he or she determines whether a child is at risk. In-home services maybe recommended, but if the children are at immediate risk, they will be removed from their home and placed in foster care.

Having worked closely with Social Services in my county, I have seen firsthand that many social workers are deeply invested in the welfare of their clients. They work long hours, extending themselves on behalf of the children and families they serve. But even the best social worker cannot fully provide a safety net for children. We need communities to do that.

The Local Church

Despite their tumultuous beginnings, children in foster care can develop qualities that they will need to succeed as adults in their relationships, jobs, and communities. Together, these qualities help a child build resilience. In other words, they are equipped to overcome difficulties.

Research tells us that there is one predictor of resilience in children who come from high-risk backgrounds. It’s not their race, and it’s not their socioeconomic status. It’s the presence of a reliable mentor in their lives (Werner, 2005). That mentor might be a grandparent, pastor, teacher, or any adult who is stable enough to provide emotional support and advice.

Every community across our country has at least one local church. At For The Children, we believe that the Church can be the answer to providing the mentoring that children need.

How We Develop Healthy Communities

To build resilience in our children, we need EVERY child to experience unconditional love, hope and safety. For The Children is serving communities by mobilizing churches to come alongside some of their most vulnerable children: those in foster care, or who have otherwise experienced relational trauma.

For The Children works with a network of over 200 churches in 44 states and in 12 countries to provide our signature programs—Royal Family KIDS Camp and Mentoring—to children ages 6-12. This year, our chapters have served over 6,400 children!

At For The Children, we dream of communities where every child experiences unconditional love, hope and safety. And in communities across our country, churches who share this vision are making it come true!

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