James 1:27 reminds us that, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…” Therefore, we should deeply care about orphans and about children in foster care.
On any given day, more than 443,000 children in the U.S. are in foster care. In my state, Indiana, the rate of children being placed in foster care is about twice the national average. Roughly half of foster parents quit after the first year or first placement. And, there is less than a 3% chance for children who have aged out of foster care to earn a college degree at any point in their life.
So what can the church do? Well, here’s a fantastic new way to partner with government to solve this problem: the CarePortal. The CarePortal allows the Department of Child Services to email community partners such as churches with emergency needs such as beds, food and clothing in an effort to prevent kids from being removed from their homes.
In this episode, I interview Doug Weinberg, former deputy director of the Department of Child Services in Indiana and former Director of the Department of Health and Human Services in Nebraska, about the foster care crisis and the CarePortal. Doug championed the CarePortal legislation in Indiana and met with more than 30 legislators to obtain bi-partisan support for the bill (by the way, Doug volunteered his time to do this; he is not a lobbyist).
- About 90% of the kids removed from their homes in Indiana are removed because of neglect, not abuse
- He explains the (in his opinion) primary source of the growing foster care crisis: the breakdown of the nuclear family
- We discuss his conversations with legislators about the separation of church and state and the idea of churches partnering with government to solve problems
- His interesting perspective (as a former government official) about the church and its need to reengage community problems
- He explains how churches can practically engage the foster care crisis
- The CarePortal is active in northeast Marion County in Indiana but hopes to expand. The CarePortal is also active in other states. Visit https://careportal.org/ for more information.