While the worthy vision of “A Home for Every Child” has thus far been backed by operations in just South Florida, it has long been the hope at 4KIDS to reach kids in the rest of Florida and beyond. As news of the success of their model spread, 4KIDS began garnering the attention of not only local and national government agencies but communities with a dire need for effective foster care.
So the agency began getting its ducks in a row to work on branching out in order to equip others to help kids that 4KIDS of South Florida couldn’t reach.
“As one of the leaders in the national foster care initiative, we’re doing all we can to share the knowledge and expertise that God has given us over the last 17 years so that others can replicate what we’re doing without the learning curve,” said Tom Lukasik, 4KIDS’ vice president of community engagement. “We haven’t advertised affiliation, but we’re ready to get the opportunity out there to really provide a home for every child, not just those in South Florida.”
The year’s goals included establishing three affiliates, and as of going to press, there were four strong contenders in various stages of the contract process: Central Florida, Tampa Bay area, Treasure coast, and South Texas.
Since 2007, 4KIDS has been involved with The Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO: christianalliancefororphans.org), a national and international association that advocates for orphans all over the world and finds people to take care of them. This May, 4KIDS will attend their 10th annual summit in Chicago, timed to kick off National Foster Care Month, to lead breakout sessions on how to work with the church, bring church and state together, educate and advocate for kids in the system, and equip and strengthen foster families.
Becoming an affiliate is a well-designed process that sets up prospective agencies and visionaries for the best chance of success. The 11-point checklist includes considerations that have been critical in the success of 4KIDS of South Florida including a genuine need in the community; similar Christian ministries already operating in that area; available resources such as office space; an established relationship with an ‘anchor’ church and a coalition of others (at least three) willing to support and financially back the endeavor; startup capital and the support of
“To whom much is given much is required, and we don’t want to hide our light under a basket,” said Lukasik. “There’s a huge need in our country but there’s about as many churches as there are foster kids—if every church got involved we’d have homes for all of them: Every church; every child!”