Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home (LBCH)
Connect 1:27 is the statewide foster care and adoption ministry of the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home (LBCH). LBCH created the program to unite the body of Christ in churches across the state to meet the needs of children in foster care in Louisiana. The Connect 1:27 team recruits Christian foster families to support families during their fostering journey and encourages church involvement in foster care support. Connect 1:27 staff work closely with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to learn more about ongoing needs for children in foster care and how individuals and organizations can meet those needs.
DCFS provides a large portion of the direct services to children and families involved in the foster care system; however, LBCH can only meet individual needs through individuals and organizations outside of DCFS. These needs vary significantly across the state, but some are universal: the need for foster/adoptive families and relational support. The need is ongoing because new children enter foster care every day statewide. As more children enter foster care, the need for foster families, foster family support, and supportive services for birth families increases.
Over the last several years, Connect 1:27 has worked with DCFS and other organizations to encourage collaborative efforts to connect the needs of foster care with the faith-based community’s resources. The results have been nothing short of miraculous. God has used individuals, churches, and ministries to provide clothing, food, school supplies, hair care, extracurricular activities, support groups, trainings, visitation rooms, and more. Churches were encouraged to learn that DCFS not only allowed their participation but encouraged their involvement. Once the faith-based community came together and partnered with DCFS, supportive services increased. DCFS staff were inspired by the ability to provide more for the children and families they served.
The One Church, One Family, One Child initiative challenges everyone to consider the impact of collaborative efforts in the foster care system. Imagine if every church in Louisiana partnered with their local DCFS office to meet every urgent need that arose willingly. Imagine the number of families who would commit to fostering if they knew their church would support them every step of the way. Imagine the lives that could be changed if churches ministered to birth families and helped them overcome the challenges that lead to their children entering foster care. The faith-based community has an incredible opportunity to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable children in Louisiana. It merely requires a willingness to connect and serve.