Working with Communities of Faith 

The roles of faith communities and social welfare are closely tied together. Many social service agencies and programs are closely connected to communities of faith; Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, and Jewish Social Services, to name a few. Faith communities have played a large part in social welfare, including caring for the poor and caring for children. Still today, many places of worship continue to have purpose to help the needy and to help children. 

Strengthening relationships with faith communities can be a useful way to help with targeted recruitment of foster parents in your communities. We often hear that our foster parents are our best recruiters of other foster parents, and that is true. But think, too, of how many times have you heard a foster parent tell you they felt "called" by their faith to help children and families in this way? Many of our foster families are tied to a faith community, so building relationships with these communities can be beneficial to find other like-minded families for fostering. 

We hope this information is useful for you! We also want to remind you that we are here to help and support you. Please don't hesitate to reach out to the Resource Specialists at the Coalition: 414-475-1246, 800-762-8063,
Featured Resource: Finding Common Ground: A Guide for Child Welfare Agencies Working with Communities of Faith (AdoptUSKids)

AdoptUSKids has developed this guidebook  for child welfare agencies to assist in developing and building relationships and partnerships with communities of faith. The guidebook provides many tips and ideas for engaging the faith community and how to sustain a mutually favorable relationship. 

Ideas from Across Wisconsin: Barron County

Kate Montague from Barron County has been working with a large church in her community for a little while. Red Cedar Church has a congregation of over 1,200 members and, not long ago, a representative from the church contacted Kate to see how they could get involved and help children and youth in foster care in Barron County. Kate needed help with recruiting more foster families and Red Cedar stepped up to provide their assistance; however, the church's support did not end there: 
  • Kate was able to have an informational meeting with a panel of foster parents to share their experience of fostering; about 46 people attended to learn more about foster care in Barron County. 
  • Red Cedar also hosted a Christmas party for current foster families and about 80 people attended, while the church supplied 50 volunteers who helped with set-up and clean-up, food, gifts for the children, and door prizes.
  • The church has also helped put together kits for families who are getting licensed for foster care that include fire extinguishers and smoke detectors to offset some licensing costs for families. 
  • Red Cedar has also opened their space for supervised visitations for children in out-of-home care and their birth families.
Kate meets with a church leader every few months. She says, "It doesn't take much time away and it lightens my load in the long run. I give them the information and they set it all up for me. If I didn't have help, I wouldn't have time to plan and put together these kinds of things." Kate's relationship with Red Cedar Church is an excellent example of how to partner with communities of faith. The following videos share more about how Red Cedar Church is working with the children, youth, and families of Barron County: 
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