With more than 60 children and youth in foster care in Ashley, Bradley, and Drew counties, area churches will join thousands of churches across the country on “Stand Sunday” to echo a united message of support for children in foster care, celebrate God’s special love for vulnerable children, and what people can do to put that love into action, according to a news release from The CALL.

The CALL in Southeast Arkansas is asking churches in Southeast Arkansas to recognize this special day during their service on November 10.

“We would like to invite you to be a part of the movement as well, by taking a stand in your community on behalf of children and youth in foster care,” said Deborah West, county coordinator for The CALL in Southeast Arkansas. “By participating in Stand Sunday, your church can “stand” in the gap for these children and youth through a focused day of worship, prayer and awareness.

The impact of growing up without a family

In the United States, there are more than 400,000 children in the foster system today due to abuse and severe neglect. About one quarter of those children have been permanently removed from their parents. For these children, the wait for a family often exacerbates trauma the child suffered in their own home. Every year, more than 20,000 “age out” into adulthood without a permanent family.

Foster youth face immense difficulties. Children aging out of the system without the support of a family are far more vulnerable to traffickers, prostitution, homelessness and a host of other ills. A 2013 human trafficking raid by the FBI found that 60 percent of child victims came from foster care.

Seeking to change these numbers, faith communities across a wide range of Christian denominations unite on Stand Sunday to challenge churches to be an answer for these children. If every church in America adopted just one child from foster care, there would be more families waiting for children than children waiting for families.

The need for families can feel overwhelming. However, through the efforts of local churches in Arkansas working together with The CALL since 2007, over 2,200 families have opened their homes to foster or adopt and over 18,000 children and youth have been cared for. With over 1,500 children and youth finding their forever families through adoption. But there is so much more to do. We need more than 2,500 new foster homes to have more than enough families for every child in care. The solution for this is the local church.

To find out how your church can make a difference in the lives of children and youth in foster care, call Deborah West, county coordinator for The CALL in Southeast Arkansas at 870 308 9502.

To request free Stand Sunday materials and event ideas, email [email protected]