Conference in Orlando first of its kind for state, nation

ORLANDO, FL – Churches across the U.S. increasingly make a priority of serving the 400,000 children in America’s foster system through foster care, adoption and mentoring. On November 8, 2013, this burgeoning trend will be vibrantly visible in Orlando at Families for Children: A Conference on Engaging Faith for Foster Youth. This first-of-its-kind national conference will equip churches, families and social welfare professionals to work effectively together for foster youth and their families.

According to the Barna Group, today some 30% of churches actively encourage attendees to consider foster care and adoption, and many harbor active ministries facilitating these commitments. Observers from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times have noted what they describe as a rapidly expanding “movement” of church-based foster care, adoptions, mentoring, family preservation programs and more.

The Families for Children conference will deliver both inspiration and nuts-and-bolts training. Prospective and current adoptive and foster families will explore cross-racial parenting, attachment, and the inner workings of the foster system. Organization and child welfare professionals will examine top faith-based models nationwide. Houses of worship will learn how to build family support systems, mentoring programs and more.

Tom Lukasik, Chairman of Florida’s Faith-Based Advisory Council and also Vice President of Community Engagement for 4KIDS of South Florida, expressed, “Faith communities are a perfect complement to government when it comes to meeting the need every child has for protection, nurture and belonging. This conference will mean more families and churches well-prepared to help Florida and other states meet this critical need.”

Families for Children is being organized by a coalition of more than 140 organizations working together through the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO), in partnership with the Florida Department of Children & Families. The one-day conference will take place at Northland Church (Longwood).

“It’s amazing to see how churches across the country are stepping up for kids in foster care,” said CAFO President Jedd Medefind. “The Families for Children Conference will be a powerful catalyst for expanding and equipping faith communities to care for foster youth, both throughout Florida and across the nation.


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