Lt. Governor Denn & DE Clergy Launch “Faith, Family & Foster Care” Initiative
Asking Faith Community to Encourage Members to Help Children by Providing Foster Care
WILMINGTON – Last week, Delaware Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn launched his “Faith, Family & Foster Care” initiative at events in New Castle and Sussex Counties. He was joined by local faith leaders who have volunteered to work with the Lt. Governor to encourage members of their congregations and communities to consider becoming foster families.
Right now in Delaware, there are more than 850 children in foster care and only 400 foster families available for placing these children. The Lt. Governor’s goal is to help find a family that is the best fit for each child, based on that child’s social, emotional, and physical needs, as well as geographical and educational situations. To do that, Delaware needs to significantly increase the number of families that provide foster care/become foster parents for Delaware’s children.
“That is where our faith community comes in,” says Lt. Governor Denn. “Most of our religious denominations have as one of their central tenets, ‘the care of the most vulnerable among us.’ Caring for foster children captures all of what Micah told us were the core demands on people of faith: to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God. So we believe that we will find in Delaware’s houses of worship many families willing to step up, take on what we acknowledge to be a real challenge, and help these kids.”
The Lt. Governor is asking each congregation in Delaware to find one family from its midst that would be willing to explore being a foster family. If even a fraction of our state’s congregations take part in this “Faith, Family & Foster Care” initiative, we will dramatically increase the number of foster parents in our state. And that, in turn, will make a real difference in the lives of these foster children. Reverend Doug Gerdts of First and Central Presbyterian Church in Wilmington said, “The Old Testament tells us we are all adopted into a family of faith.” These children deserve no less than the caring and support of a loving family.
The Lt. Governor unveiled a locally-produced five minute video featuring foster and adoptive families, and foster care recipients that will be shared with the faith community all over Delaware. The video is available on the Lt. Governor’s website at http://ltgov.delaware.gov. In addition, information about becoming foster parents is posted so those interested can see what the responsibilities are and contact the Division of Family Services for further assistance. DFS will then work with prospective foster parents to connect them with an appropriate participating agency.
“Our children are our future and our collective responsibility,” said Vivian Rapposelli, Cabinet Secretary for the Delaware’s Children Department. “We are truly grateful that Lt. Governor Denn has accepted the challenge to initiate recruiting additional foster families from the faith-based community.”
Lt. Governor Denn has been joined in this effort by local clergy including Rabbi Michael Beals (Wilmington), Reverend Doug Gerdts (Wilmington), Dr. Robert McConkie (Wilmington), Apostle Thomas Weeks (Wilmington), Pastor David Carey (Newark), Reverend John Moore (Dover), Reverend Max Wolf (Rehoboth Beach), Pastor Andy Ehlers (Roxana), Pastor Kim Tephabock (Dagsboro), and Pastor Mike Williams (Georgetown).
All of these faith leaders have agreed to support the Lt. Governor’s initiative and do what they can to help. Pastor Kim Tephabock of Dagsboro Church of God summed up the initiative, “It is hard to open your heart and your home but it is called hospitality and that is one way we will all be judged.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Lt. Governor’s “Faith, Family & Foster Care” initiative, please call 302-744-4333 for more information.