What if Canada had more waiting homes than waiting children?
When Bishop Aaron Blake, a pastor and foster/adoptive father in Texas, USA, left his breakfast table for church on the second Sunday in November of 2004, he had a sermon prepared … and it wasn’t about foster care:
“I had prepared a sermon to preach that morning that I had worked on all week. I stood up to bring the message when the breakfast table image of our boys came back to my mind. The faces of our sons seemed to multiply in my emotions as I recalled the image from the breakfast table earlier. I knew then that God was prompting our church to answer the call to care for children and broken families.”
Without explanation, Bishop Blake said to his congregation, “Brothers and sisters, there are about 30,000 children in the foster care system in Texas and nearly a half a million in the U. S.”
He then asked this one simple question (and he wasn’t expecting a verbal answer):
“Who will stand with me to defend, care, and support abused, abandon, and neglected children in our community?”
After a brief moment of silence, one lady in the back of the church stood up and simply replied,
“Pastor … I will.”
Like a tiny smoldering ember dropped in a pile of thirsty pine needles, her voice began to multiply. To his amazement, Bishop Blake watched as one family after another stood up and joined their voices to hers. As a result of that day, this church and the surrounding community has cared for and adopted hundreds of children in foster care over the last 12 years. In fact, their county actually has more than enough foster families to meet the need there.
Each year since 2004, churches around the globe have been celebrating the second Sunday in November as a day to remind ourselves of and renew our commitment to the call of James 1:27 - the care of the vulnerable child (Orphan Sunday). In 2016, these two efforts merged; Orphan Sunday for the purpose of inviting the church to care for orphans worldwide and Stand Sunday for the purpose of calling the church to stand for children and families in Foster Care. In 2017 Stand Sunday was celebrated for the first time in Canada.
Each year we strive to add more downloadable, Canadian-relevant resources available to help you and your church stand for children in foster care. To see all that is available, simply click here.
We invite you and your church to STAND with us … until there’s more than enough foster families in every community in the nation.
1. Get the Facts
There is a lot of misinformation about why kids end up in foster care and who can make a difference. Bust the myths with the real facts.
2. Learn & Share
Get into God's word and learn his heart for vulnerable children and his admonishment to his people
After you have read through the material here, contact your local government child welfare office or foster parent network and ask about the local needs for families and kids in your area.
Share with your church/group what you have learned
3. Find Your Place
Not everyone's called to be a foster parent, but we can each do something!
Respite, mentoring, advocacy, Safe Families.
Pray, seek, connect with existing organizations and find your fit!
Stand Sunday Resources
Links to More Resources
A Child's Song Adoption Support ServicesClinical counselling, consultation and education for adoptive families, foster parents, adoptees, children & youth in care, school professionals, social workers, and adoption professionals. http://www.achildssong.ca/
CareImpactCareImpact connects & equips the whole Church to effectively journey in community with children & families in hard places. Facilitating effective collaboration of churches and community who have something to give and who are equipped to care and connecting them connecting them with Canadian families in need. https://www.careimpact.ca/
Care PortalCarePortal is a website and online tool that allows churches, child serving organizations or non-profits to work with child welfare to help children and families in need. If a child welfare professional identifies a need for a child or family, a caseworker can submit a request into CarePortal’s platform, which then sends a message to participating churches. Then, each church can respond directly back to the caseworker when they are able to meet the need, or they can engage other churches and community partners who want to help. Read about the launch of Care Portal in Canada here: https://generalauthority.ca/2020/01/care-portal-celebrates-canadian-launch/ For more, please visit www.Careportal.ca
Hope for the Journey/TBRITrauma-informed training for parents and caregivers teaching how trauma affects brain development and behavior through TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention). Resources teach why traditional punitive behavior correction typically doesn’t work for these children and gives proven strategies for connecting, empowering and correcting with difficult children. Show Hope’s Hope for the Journey 1 day Conference (formerly the Empowered to Connect 2 day conference) seeks to encourage and better equip parents and caregivers meeting the everyday needs of children impacted by adoption and/or foster care through the foundational principles of Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) https://showhope.org/our-work/pre-post-adoption-support/hope-for-the-journey/ The Connected Child book (the 2 day Empowered to Connect Conference in a book format)https://empoweredtoconnect.org/book/ Empowered to Connect (ETC) is an attachment rich community focused program that exists to support, resource, and educate caregivers including podcasts, videos, and Parent Training. www.empoweredtoconnect.org Empowered to Connect 9 Week Parent Training teaches parents and caregivers the foundations of TBRI and how to implement TBRI principles in their homes https://empoweredtoconnect.org/training/ The audio recordings of the past Empowered to Connect Conferences https://gumroad.com/showhope TBRI self-guided, whiteboard-style course of approximately 8 hrs of video lessons https://child.tcu.edu/tbri101/ The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development has videos available for purchase or online rental https://child.tcu.edu/store/ Youtube has a number of free videos available online. Search: TBRI, Karyn Purvis, Empowered to Connect Created to Connect: A Christian’s Guide to the Connected Child (free download) https://empoweredtoconnect.org/created-to-connect-study-guide/ The Connection: Where Hearts Meet DVD-lead small group study https://orphancareresources.org/resource/connection First lesson preview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_jyqq8E5u8 Workbook preview https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0545/9317/files/TheConnection-sample.pdf?9580 TBRI Practitioner Training –training for professionals to be equipped to implement and teach TBRI within their organizations and those that they serve https://child.tcu.edu/tbri-practitioner-list/ A list of TBRI practitioners is also available on the website to connect with for training support in your area https://myols.net/kpicd/user-directory/practitioner
Foster Hope (Vancouver Island)A program of Foster Parent Support Services Society on Vancouver Island https://fosterhope.ca/
Foster Hub (Vancouver)A collaboration of local agencies, offering caregivers in the Vancouver region integrated services. Connecting caregivers to support groups, trainings and in home support as well as immediate crisis intervention. https://www.fosterhub.ca/
Foster Parent Support Services Society (Vancouver Island)A Grass Roots organization on committed to providing meaningful and accessible support, education and networking services to enhance the skills and abilities of foster parents on Vancouver Island to deliver the best care possible to the children in their homes. https://fpsss.com/
ReFraming Foster Care by Jason JohnsonWritten by foster parents, for foster parents. ReFraming Foster Care is a collection of reflections on the foster parenting journey designed to help you find hope and remind you that your work is worth it and you are not alone. (with group discussion guide) http://jasonjohnsonblog.com/reframing-foster-care
Safe Families CanadaSafe Families is foster care deflection - churches in a community banding together to wrap around families in crisis and prevent family separation and unnecessary entry into the foster care system. www.safefamiliescanada.com Safe Families has launched a version of Stand Sunday called "Safe Families Sunday" that is focused on highlighting opportunities for church members to grow spiritually and demonstrate biblical hospitality to our neighbors in need through Safe Families. Helpful resources can be found at https://safe-families.org/safefamiliessunday/
Domestic Sex Trafficking of Aboriginal Girls in CanadaThe following is a link to a paper from the Western University Aboriginal Policy Research Consortium International exploring issues and implications for domestic sex trafficking of Canadian Aboriginal girls
Child Welfare Research PortalA website with useful links and papers on the topic of children in care. https://cwrp.ca/statistics
An Unholy Alliance: The Connection between Foster Care and Human TraffickingA 2015 paper by Human Trafficking Search exploring the links between foster care and human trafficking in the United States, typical childhood experiences of victims of commercial sexual exploitation and that of their traffickers, paths from foster care to becoming trafficking victims, common methods traffickers use to recruit victims, the extent of trafficking in the foster care system, those most at risk and recommendations for interacting with victims.
From Foster Care to Missing or MurderedMacleans article from April 2017 looking into how the foster-care system disproportionately affects Indigenous children and many of the long-term impacts including the susceptibility of girls to become victims of sex trafficking. The article explores Indigenous history in Canada, impacts of residential schools and '60s Scoop, statistics and figures of Indigenous children in care, and the life-long impact of children being separated from families and experiencing trauma. Related CBC New article from 2018 Related IndigiNews article from 2023
Human Trafficking in CanadaHuman Trafficking in Canada; Contextualized to the Issue of Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children. This brief was resented by the Missing Children's Network to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in March of 2018. This document explores 500 cases of missing children and what can be learned from these cases. Topics include: Youth in the child welfare system are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking How does a child become a victim? Why are runaways more vulnerable? How youth are recruited and groomed
Vulnerable Youth and Human TraffickingThis presentation from October 2017 was presented by Covenant House Toronto providing: statistics, factors affecting vulnerability, pathways from care to exploitation, trafficker profiles and tactics, best practices for engaging victims, approaching community organizations, and resources
The TraffickedA February 2016 The Globe and Mail published a series called 'The Trafficked' including: The Trafficked 60 interviews with trafficked women, their families, police, researches, advocates and front-line service providers in Canada and USA. Indigenous women and girls are vastly overrepresented in human trafficking cases. The article includes an overview of human trafficking in Canada, the government's response, statistics, the direct connection between foster care and human trafficking, factors leading to vulnerability, Canadian trafficking hotspot corridors, organizations supporting victims and fighting trafficking injustice. Additional related article: How Sex Trafficking Works in Canada
Foster Care System One of the Paths to Murdered and Missing Indigenous WomenA February 2018 CBC article exploring the numbers of Indigenous children in government care, connections to challenges later in life, statistics, history of Indigenous peoples in Canada and residential schools and the '60s Scoop.