Lutheran Services Carolinas foster care program changes lives
By Michelle Chaffee, Donor Relations Specialist at Lutheran Services Carolinas
Foster families are just that: families. They provide safe, stable, loving homes to children who are in crisis. Foster child Shea Dodson strongly believes this of her foster mother. “Her family is my family, and she’s basically my mother figure,” says Dodson. “I don’t think of her as a foster parent.”
These family environments are critical to children who have been through trauma, abuse, or neglect. In South Carolina, Lutheran Services Carolinas offers therapeutic foster care to children who have behavioral and emotional challenges. Due to a shortage of foster care homes, many children in need of placement have been put on a waiting list for a foster family.
“There is a desperate need in the state for foster parents at this time,” says Julie Hood, regional team manager in SC. “Lutheran Services Carolinas hopes people will think seriously about this and open up their homes and their hearts for these children in need.”
“For those who want to become foster parents, take that chance,” says Damien McCoy, a former foster child. “You never know whose lives you’re going to touch.”
How To Help
Foster parenting simply may not be an option for some families, but there are countless other ways for individuals and congregations to serve these special children. Foster children entering a new home can be comforted by backpacks or duffel bags filled with toiletries, stuffed animals, a blanket, journal, and writing utensils. Other service ideas include hosting celebrations for foster children and their foster families at Christmas or other holidays, collecting backpacks and school supplies, or sponsoring foster children on their birthdays by sending them a card or small gift. Churches are also welcome to sponsor foster children on congregational Angel Trees or provide children with Christmas gifts.
One of the easiest ways to support LSC’s foster care program is to invite a foster care staff member to speak at a church meeting about the foster care ministry.
For more information about becoming a foster parent, contact the South Carolina foster care program at SCfostercare@LSCarolinas.net. If you would like to organize a service project or donate to the foster care program, please contact Michelle Chaffee at mchaffee@LSCarolinas.net or (704) 603-1696.