SOFTT(Saving Our Families Together Today)“Connecting community resources to needy families through Faith Based Organizations(FBO’s)” Sunah Shin Dr. Doris M. Houston May 8, 2009
Statistics of children in the foster care system in C-U • The numbers show that the majority of the years Caucasian children are more likely to find permanence within 12 months. • From 2004-2006 there was a steady decrease in numbers, meaning less children finding permanence.
Statistics of children in the foster care system in C-U(continued…) • From 1999-2006 the months were added up to get the numbers above. • African American children have the longest time in foster care • There has been research stating that race can determine the length of stay within a placement. • It also shows that often times impoverished neighborhoods aren’t given access to the kinds of supports and services that can prevent problems in the home which can lead to neglect and abuse. These services are parenting skills, workshops and counseling, and adequate legal representation, obtaining affordable housing, and also substance abuse treatment. I believe that these are the factors that need to be in check so that everyone has a equal chance when it comes to the foster care system. (Analysis of GAO article)
SOFTT(Saving Our Families Together Today) • Who: Stakeholders in C-U(child welfare agencies, schools, parents, service providers) • What: The mission is for community members to work together to promote and support the well-being of Champaign County children. Our goal is to find and implement effective ways to preserve, reunify and empower families. • Why: SOFTT began due to the fact that they saw the disproportionate number of African American kids remaining in the system. According to statistics, African American children represent 15% of all children in the United States but they account for 25% of substantiated maltreatment victims. Whereas, Caucasian children account for 79% of the child population with 51% of all substantiated victims and Asian children who represent 4% and account for 1% of substantiated victims which shows that the other groups are underrepresented among victims of child maltreatment (Chibnall, S et. al; 2003).
SOFTT focuses in on Faith-Based Organizations • Goal: To help safely return the children back to their homes or find a home through guardianship or adoption. • New idea: To help alleviate this crisis of kids staying in the system, parents need to find a solid support system and availability of resources in order to progress towards the permanency goal. • How: By linking local FBO’s resources to the clients while building relationships that will last as strong support systems.
Faith-Based Organization • What is a Faith Based Organization(FBO)? • Faith-based organizations are of three types: (1) congregations; (2) national networks, which include national denominations, their social service arms (for example, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services), and networks of related organizations (such as YMCA and YWCA); and (3) freestanding religious organizations, which are incorporated separately from congregations and national networks. (Vidal, A., C. (2001). Faith-based organizations in community development . U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, , 1-34.)
Why FBO and not secular? • Faith-based service agencies are addressing a myriad of social problems. To many scholars and policymakers, faith-based agencies/organizations offer the prospect of greater effectiveness, efficiency, and responsiveness in the provision of social and health services (Smith, S., R., Bartkowski, J., P., & Grettenberger, S. (2003). A comparative view of the role and effect of A comparative view of the role and effect of faith in social services . The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy, , 1-169) • A focus on lasting solutions to personal problems such as poverty and drug addiction • A stress on the relational aspects of care with an accompanying focus on personal transformation • Front-line workers in FBOs are more likely to see the “whole person” and thus address people in the context of all of their human, spiritual, and social needs • An extensive network of community resources and support systems that allow FBOs to respond and respond comprehensively to these needs. The community connections of FBOs also allow them to offer reinforcement to the programs offered by the agency. Service is not simply the contact between agency and client but instead a community response to client need with the agency at the center. (Smith, S., R., Bartkowski, J., P., & Grettenberger, S. (2003). A comparative view of the role and effect of A comparative view of the role and effect of faith in social services . The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy, , 1-169)
My Project: Faith-Based Organization Assessment • Target: Local faith based organizations/churches • Purpose: 1. To assess what services are available through FBO’s in the C-U area 2. To link clients to free resources already available in the community and get community involved in helping and supporting needy families • Goal: To have courts allow clients to use these service providers rather than just the ones that the clients are mandated by the courts to use.
Made 36 contacts with local churches/organizations in C-U Services in C-U area through FBO’s: -aftercare program -back to school prep -counseling -emergency assistance -educational advocacy -family dynamics -finances -financial assistance -food pantry -funeral assistance -health clinic Service in C-U area through FBO’s(continued): -housing -meeting room location -mentoring -mentoring/supporting families -parenting -shelter -singles ministry -soup kitchen -substance abuse -teen outreach -transportation to service -tutoring -utilities help Results of FBO Assessment
References • http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm • Bartkowski, J., Grettenberger, S., Hall, L., & Smith, S., R. (2003). Comparative case studies of faith-based and secular service agencies. The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy, , 1-20. • Brown, K. (2008). African American children in foster care: HHS and congressional actions could help reduce proportion in care . GAO, 1-18. • Chibnall, S., Dutch, N. M., Jones-Harden, B., Brown, A., Gourdine Ruby, Smith, J., et al. (2003). Children of color in the child welfare system: Perspectives from the child welfare community. Children’s Bureau Administration for Children and Families, , 1-77. • Smith, S., R., Bartkowski, J., P., & Grettenberger, S. (2003). A comparative view of the role and effect of A comparative view of the role and effect of faith in social services . The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy, , 1-169. • Vidal, A., C. (2001). Faith-based organizations in community development . U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, , 1-34.