Category Archives: Children
This article strays a bit from our usual topics. However I feel it contains information many Christians will find both interesting and useful. I also feel strongly the the Christian Church in all its many flavors is uniquely positioned and qualified to help mount the challenges it highlights. -Pastor Crutchfield.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Thirty percent (127,819) of children in foster care are being raised by grandparents or other relatives, a six percent increase since 2008. In the wake of the opioid epidemic, that number is even more dramatic in the states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic like Ohio, which saw a 62 percent increase in the number of children placed with relatives in foster care since 2010. For each child in foster care with a relative, there are 20 children outside of the system with a relative.
According to a new report by Generations United, grandparents and other relatives who step in to care for children, play an important role in mitigating trauma, which children in the child welfare system experience at starkly higher rates than the general population.
More than half of the children in the child welfare system have endured four or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), leaving them 12 times more likely to have negative health outcomes – substance use disorders, mental health problems, and engaging in aggressive or risky behaviors – than the general child population.
“Growing up with a childhood full of trauma and abuse, there were very few moments where I felt safe and very few people with whom I felt protected. Being put into my uncle’s care was the best decision that could have ever been made for me,” explained Kindra, whose last name is withheld to protect her privacy. “It wasn’t an easy road by any means, but I have no doubt in that it completely saved my life.”
Compared to those in care with non-relatives, children in foster care with relatives have more stable and safe childhoods and a greater likelihood of having a permanent home. The have better mental and behavioral health, and are more likely to report always feeling loved.
“These relatives are the loving and protective arms for babies, children and youth who’ve experience trauma,” said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. “They are caring for children with multiple high-level needs and they should get the support required for the families to thrive.”
Unlike parents or foster parents who plan for months or years to care for a child, grandparents or other relative caregivers usually step into their roles unexpectedly. At a moment’s notice, they are forced to navigate complex systems to help meet the physical and cognitive health challenges of the children who come into their care. Grandfamilies are less likely than foster families to have access to specialized training and support from professionals that have expertise in helping children, who have experienced trauma, heal.
“One thing I know to be true: you can’t love away the effects of trauma from neglect and abuse,” said Jan Wagner, grandparent caregiver, Michigan. “Our children need the same amount of intensive therapy and services as a traditional foster placement and we, as their caregiver desperately need the same to help them heal.”
Among the report’s recommendations:
- Reform federal child welfare financing to provide more trauma-informed support to prevent children from entering or re-entering foster care
- Increase availability of and access to trauma training and supports designed for grandfamilies
- Address barriers to licensing relatives as foster parents
- Ensure grandfamilies not licensed as foster parents can access financial assistance to meet children’s needs
Generations United will release The 2017 State of Grandfamilies in America report Sept. 13 at a reception, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, in room G-11 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Generations United will honor Senator Susan Collins (Maine) and Senator Bob Casey (Pennsylvania) with its 2017 Grandfamilies Champion Awards at the event.
The report, which also includes a resource list and profiles of grandfamilies, will be available at www.gu.org on Sunday, Sept. 10th. For an advanced copy or to schedule an interview with one of our experts, contact Alan King at firstname.lastname@example.org. (An expert can also do interviews in Spanish.)
Generations United is home to the National Center on Grandfamilies, a leading voice for issues affecting families headed by grandparents and other relatives. Through the Center, Generations United leads an advisory group of organizations, caregivers and youth that set the national agenda to advance public will in support of these families. www.gu.org
SOURCE Generations United
CINCINNATI, Ohio, Dec. 22, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — During this Christmas season, American Heritage Girls demonstrate the true spirit of giving by honoring Fire Departments, Police Departments and fallen soldiers nationwide.
Troops prepared and delivered treats to their local Fire and Police stations as thanks to the community’s first responders. The small acts of kindness came from big hearts of gratitude. These giving projects are a vehicle of practical instruction which AHG provides through the character development program for girls 5-18.
Wreaths Across America Day on December 12 stands as an additional example of American Heritage Girl’s commitment to service. Troops across the nation assisted in placing thousands of wreaths upon military graves, this being part of the annual ceremony that gives tribute to deceased military. Throughout the country, uniformed American Heritage Girls aided in the placement of wreaths in numerous veteran cemeteries.
53rd District, Ohio House Representative, Tim Derickson is just one of the many State Representatives throughout the country that attended their local ceremony in which American Heritage Girls served as an active part. “I am honored to have the opportunity to commend American Heritage Girls Troop Ohio 1412 and the 288th Pathfinder Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol on sponsoring 621 wreaths. The time and effort Ohio Troop 1412 has dedicated to this organization, and to veterans’ events throughout the year is truly remarkable. Every member of this Troop should be proud of her contributions and selflessness.”
American Heritage Girls is celebrating 20 years of ministry. AHG membership has grown 30-50 percent in the last four years and has over 40,000 members globally. For more information, visit www.americanheritagegirls.org. Follow AHG on Instagram @ahgfun or Facebook facebook.com/AmericanHeritageGirls
Founded in 1995 in Cincinnati, Ohio, AHG is a faith-based character development program dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. AHG girls across the nation and the globe participate in badge programs, service projects, leadership opportunities and outdoor experiences.
We are used to seeing books and other things turned into apps, e-books etc. This is a great example of how an app can be turned into something more traditional, and less digital. -Pastor Crutchfield
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oct. 13, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — YouVersion in partnership with OneHope today announced the release of The Bible App for Kids Storybook Bible. Extending the successful Bible App for Kids app experience, the illustrated Storybook Bible transfers stories from the app into an engaging book format that will help bring the Bible to life for children of all ages.
“Parents and kids love the way the stories and characters are depicted in the app and have asked for a way to enjoy them on the printed page as well,” said Bobby Gruenewald, creator of YouVersion and innovation pastor at Life.Church. “We believe this generation has the potential to be the most biblically engaged group of all time, and we want to create exciting and engaging resources to help children learn about and understand the stories in the Bible.”
The Bible App for Kids launched Thanksgiving Day 2013 and since that time has been downloaded more than 8.5 million times and in nearly every country of the world. Currently, the app is available in nine languages—English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Mandarin, Korean, Russian, German, Dutch and French—with several additional languages in development.
“The numbers are more than we could have ever predicted. Technology and digital tools have significantly helped kids experience the Bible in a new way,” said Rob Hoskins, president of OneHope. “Now the Storybook Bible will help families connect with God’s Word offline, too.”
The Bible App for Kids Storybook Bible depicts 28 narratives from the Bible with colorful illustrations, engaging storytelling, and learning questions designed to make the Bible easy for children to understand and for families to read and discuss together. Available October 13 on Amazon or via BibleAppforKids.com, The Bible App for Kids Storybook Bible made the Amazon best-seller list during its first week of presale.
Created in partnership by YouVersion and OneHope, free accompanying materials—coloring sheets, curriculum, parent resources—for churches and parents can be downloaded at bibleappforkids.com to help even more children experience God’s Word.
About the Bible App for Kids:
The Bible App for Kids was created by YouVersion, a ministry of Life.Church. The app is designed to give children a delightful Bible experience all their own. Developed in partnership with OneHope, the Bible App for Kids is a free app that has been installed more than 8.5 million times and is available in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Mandarin, Korean, Russian, German, Dutch and French. YouVersion also created the Bible App, which has now been downloaded more than 190 million times, offering 1,150 versions of the Bible in 850 languages across every mobile platform.
Founded in 1987, OneHope is an international ministry that is changing lives by sharing Scripture with young people around the world. Each Scripture program is age-specific and customized based on research OneHope conducts among children, youth, leaders and educators in the countries where it works. In collaboration with churches and ministries—and working with local governments, schools and non-governmental organizations—OneHope has reached more than 1 billion young people in more than 125 countries with a relevant Gospel message.
The United Church of Christ and the Boy Scouts of America re-established a formal relationship today (Oct. 5) with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding regarding local UCC congregations chartering Scout troops.
Signed by Michael B. Surbaugh, BSA chief scout executive, and the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president, the document affirms the recently-adopted BSA resolution that removed the restriction on gay adult leaders and employees, and formally states that UCC congregations chartering BSA units can conduct scouting programs according to their own values of inclusion and extravagant welcome for all.
The agreement follows similar recent moves by the Unitarian Univeralist Association, and the Union for Reform Judaism. About those earlier moves Zach Wahls an Eagle Scout, and Executive Director of Scouts for Equality had this to say, “We are planning to work with our members and partners to charter 1,000 new Boy Scout units in the next twenty-four months. With both the Unitarian Universalist Association and Union for Reformed Judiasim back, it’s clear we’re off to a great start.” Asked about the UCC’s new agreement with Boy Scouts of America, Cathie Adams, President of Texas Eagle Forum, and former Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas issued the following statement to Faith That Inspires Action, “I suggest that parents take note of what is being taught to their children in churches and schools. It must be consistent with their beliefs. If it is not, then they must protect their children from strange teachings. Train up a child in the way he should go is NOT only a suggestion. It is a tried and true principle that promises blessings to the children and their parents.”
Rev. John C. Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president, who signed the agreement on behalf of The Church of Christ, had this to say, ” As a former Boy Scout growing up, and one committed to the open and affirming ministry of the United Church of Christ, it brought me a great deal of pride and satisfaction to be able to sign my name to that memorandum of understanding,”
Speaking about the July policy change that made this agreement possible Robert M. Gates National President of the Boy Scouts of America said ““Everyone associated with scouting agrees to follow national policies and comply with BSA’s behavioral standards; no youth may be denied membership to our organization on the basis of sexual orientation; and no council can deny a charter to a unit that is following the beliefs of its religious chartering organization.”
The UCC had pulled back from any formal ties and had withdrawn its letter of endorsement in 2001 because of BSA policies of excluding boys and men based on sexual orientation. The BSA changed its policy regarding youth in 2013.
The MOU states, in part, that “the United Church of Christ and the Boy Scouts of America will work cooperatively with each other within the policies and regulations of each organization to establish and nurture scouting units as an expression of the nurture and outreach of the ministry of the United Church of Christ and its member congregations so that boys, young adults, and adults may grow in their relationships with God, develop into responsible citizens, serve the needs of others, and develop personal fitness to achieve their greatest potential.”
“Since its founding more than 100 years ago, scouting has been important to many congregations in United Church of Christ. Today UCC congregations sponsor more than 1,000 units of scouting with nearly 28,000 participants,” Schuenemeyer said. “Our commitments to justice and the inclusion of all people in the life of the church continue to call us to engage in actions that promote a just and peaceful world that affirms the gifts and ministry of each individual. That is why we welcome this opportunity to engage with colleagues in Scouting, the UCC and other faith traditions to foster inclusive Scouting programs.”
Read the text of the Memorandum of Understanding.
Editor’s Note: Large Portions of this article were taken from a United Church of Christ press release authored by Barb Powell.
Virginia-based Nonprofit Works with Honduran Government to Address Child Welfare, Juvenile Violence, and Border Crisis
NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Aug. 11, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Orphan Helpers commended today the new Department of Children, Youth and Family (DINAF) in Honduras for taking important steps to improve the lives of children in government custody, as the government also deals with children involved in the border crisis.
DINAF was established in June by the President of Honduras aimed at improving services and conditions for abused and neglected children and at-risk youth. During the past several weeks, DINAF has taken several key steps, including:
- Working to provide homes at private, non-governmental organizations for more than 300 children currently living in substandard government institutions.
- Planning to outsource the administration and operation of juvenile detention facilities that have been wracked by violence.
- Expediting hearings on reports of child abuse and neglect to address family issues immediately or provide protective services.
- Launching public service campaigns to warn parents about the dangers and penalties for risking their children’s lives and attempting to smuggle them across the U.S. border.
“Orphan Helpers has been working for more than a decade to provide services and programs for the orphaned, abused, and incarcerated children of Honduras. While much work remains, the recent steps taken by the government are the most promising structural changes we’ve seen to improve the lives of these children,” said Greg Harris, Orphan Helpers Executive Director, who met recently in Honduras with government officials, non-profit leaders, churches, and business owners.
“The Department of Children, Youth and Families is making much-needed reforms in the child welfare system. On top of that, they’re doing it while trying to deal with the huge numbers of children coming back to Honduras after being deported from the U.S. and Mexico. Orphan Helpers is pleased the government is reaching out to non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, and churches to be part of the solution.”
In addition to its regular day-to-day work inside the government-run orphanages and detention centers, Orphan Helpers is assisting DINAF at the government center in San Pedro Sula where children are returning from the U.S. and Mexico. Orphan Helpers also is serving on a government advisory panel to provide recommendations for improving programs and conditions at juvenile detention centers.
Faith Leaders and Human Rights Organizations to Have Prayer Vigil and Public Witness at Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
The vigil will be on Wednesday, May 14, at 9:30 A.M.
The address of the Nigerian Embassy is
3519 International Ct NW, Washington, DC 20008.
Here is the Facebook Event Page:
The vigil will include: leaving 276 flowers in front of the Embassy, prayers for all the girls, speeches and praying with mothers and family members “live” from Nigeria via the internet.
Rev. Patrick Mahoney, event organizer and Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states,
“We stand in solidarity with all the kidnapped girls of Nigeria, their families and loved ones. We agree with Dr. Martin Luther King when he says, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’
“We cannot be silent or indifferent when hundreds of young girls are kidnapped in full view of the world and threatened with being sold into slavery and trafficking. We must stand in the public square and shout with a loud prophetic voice, ‘Bring back our girls.’
“These are not just the daughters of Nigeria but they are our daughters also. As we gather in prayer and public witness, we ask God to intervene to protect and return these girls safely to their families.
“We also call upon the Nigerian government, the government of the United States and the entire global community to use every resource possible and leave no stone unturned in ensuring these precious ones are restored to the loving arms of their families.”
Rev. Kris Keating, Executive Director of World Horizons USA and currently in Nigeria helping the families, adds,
“I came to Nigeria not because I think it needs me, but because I am moved by the tragedy of the girls’ abduction and if I was one of the fathers, I would find comfort in knowing that people loved enough to come from far away to stand with me. I am here to love and learn. Will you pray with me today, by name, for those abducted girls?”
Brandi Swindell, Founder and CEO of Stanton Healthcare based in Boise, Idaho, comments;
“As a woman and CEO of women’s charitable health clinics across the nation, my heart breaks for these precious young girls and their families. This tragedy points to the fact that women around the world are specifically targeted for acts of violence and terror.
“This attack on these young girls of Nigeria is an attack on all women throughout the world. As I gather in front of the Nigerian Embassy in prayer and public witness, I stand in solidarity with my sisters across the globe calling upon God for mercy and calling upon the nations of the world to treat all women with equality, human rights and justice.
“We cannot rest or be silent until they are safely returned home. Our message today is clear and simple. Bring back our girls!”
FRANKLIN, Tenn., Jan. 15, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Building on the deep and rich legacy of the True Love Waits movement, which for two decades has helped millions of young people pursue lives of sexual purity, LifeWay Christian Resources has relaunched True Love Waits through a video-driven Bible study for students called The True Love Project.
The eight-session curriculum was written by author and speaker Clayton King.
The True Love Project seeks to communicate God’s design for relationships to a new generation of students and young adults who may be struggling or confused about love, dating and sex. In a culture that has largely abandoned a traditional
“True Love Waits has been a tremendous movement, orchestrated by God, to spread the biblical message of sex and purity to a younger generation,” Trueblood said. “Now, God has opened the door for the True Love Waits message to be restated, to once again point people to the gospel through this very important issue in our culture.”
In the midst of a culture that is sex-saturated, Trueblood said today’s generation needs a new message “to see how the gospel impacts their purity and how their choices in purity are about more than their sexual decisions.”
The refocused message has been inherent in True Love Waits from the beginning according to Dr. Richard Ross, one of the co-founders of the movement, which was introduced publicly in 1993. At the time, he was a youth ministry consultant for LifeWay and a student minister at a local church. The first 53 students to participate were from his church.
In their commitment, these early adoptees were “affirming their love for Jesus through their commitment to purity,” said Ross. Since that day, an estimated 3 million students have made that pledge around the world.
For King, that legacy is something on which he wants to build.
“I spoke at one of the very first True Love Waits DiscipleNow weekends,” he said. “I signed the [commitment] card, along with hundreds of thousands of students, and I still meet people today who give testimony to a season in their adolescence when they began to discover God’s design for love and intimacy through True Love Waits.”
The new curriculum captures the gospel-centric focus implanted in the original and that Trueblood wanted to bring back to the forefront.
By beginning lessons in the broader paradigm of the story of the Bible — Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration — Trueblood believes King’s lessons will give students the proper perspective for later lessons dealing specifically with sex and purity.
“We believe students can live pure lives in Jesus’ power,” King said. “We also seek to communicate the forgiveness and restoration that Jesus offers those who compromised their sexual purity in the past. Just because you messed up doesn’t mean you give up.”
For more information, visit TrueLoveWaits.com.
“Exceptional musicians deserve to perform at facilities with superior acoustics, regardless of whether the venue is religious,” said Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Gilroy Unified School District is wrong to end its longstanding tradition of allowing choir groups to perform in acoustically superior churches, hurting both the musicians and the local community. The choirs are not performing in the churches for any religious reason.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom letter explains that the superintendent’s action is legally unnecessary because “GUSD’s acoustic-excellence criterion is the epitome of neutrality. It does not favor religious or secular venues. Rather, it favors venues with excellent acoustics, regardless of their religious or secular character.”
The letter also explains that, by jettisoning GUSD’s constitutionally sound “acoustic excellence” criterion for selecting choir venues, the superintendent is exhibiting an unconstitutional hostility toward religion.
“A handful of misguided complaints and one official’s misunderstanding of First Amendment law should not be allowed to harm this acclaimed choral program and deprive its 200 members of the best possible acoustical venues for their performances,” added Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “We hope that the GUSD Board of Education will immediately reinstate its policy and allow choral program directors to select the best performance venues based on the acoustic excellence standards it has adhered to for years.”