With only eight homes and 47 children in need of foster placement in Dawson County, the
lack of available resources means many of those youth will likely be placed somewhere else, said Rebecca Davidson with the Department of Family and Children Services.
Christian nonprofit Promise686 wants to nurture more support for foster children and vulnerable families in Dawson County through local churches starting this year.
More support is needed in the county so that families can safely be maintained and reunified, said Autumn Cromer with DFCS’s Foster Parent Recruitment division.
“It increases the cost of foster care with additional transportation costs and increases the time that a child has to sit in a car, as well as diminishes the chances of reunification,” Davidson said about out-of-county placements.
Cromer explained that case managers can also feel the long-distance strain that children and families experience.
“When children reunify with their families,” said Cromer, “the support systems they build (such as a therapist, school and friends) are not local, meaning once again they restart on building these systems that are so crucial to children maintaining in their homes with their parents.”
Promise686 was formed by members of Johns Creek-based Perimeter Church with the goal “to set the lonely in families” as based on God’s promise in Psalm 68:6.
The nonprofit works across multiple counties in Georgia to mobilize churches to care for vulnerable children and families through various serving opportunities, said Ty Bryant, Promise686’s Vice President of Engagement.
In 2018, Promise686 launched a ministry model called Family Advocacy Ministry (FAM). The approach is designed to give churches the tools to support biological families in crisis as well as foster and adoptive families.
This approach emphasizes that every church can do something to care for at-risk kids and their families, the Promise686 website states. For some congregations, this might look like praying and raising awareness around vulnerable children’s needs. Other churches may choose to minister to families by meeting various physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. This could look like people bringing families weekly meals, taking children to medical appointments or mentoring those children.
Effective FAMs could also help church members become trained to provide respite care (short-term planned or emergency temporary care provided to caregivers). Likewise, FAMs could recruit church families to consider fostering and/or adoption.
For more information about Family Advocacy Ministries, please visit https://promise686.org/fams/.