About a year and a half ago, Red Cedar Church (Rice Lake, Wisconsin) began praying for God to reveal to us specific areas in our community where we could create the most impact. It soon became clear that God was calling Red Cedar to partner with our local foster care system. We didn’t know at that time how powerfully God would begin using our service to these families.
While a church partnering with government agencies is not something entirely new, it was fairly new to our particular area in Northwest Wisconsin. We began to pray for the right relationships inside of the agency and that they would be excited about the prospect of partnership with us.
At the very first meeting with the county’s foster care coordinator, we learned that the people on the other side not only longed for a unifying bridge, but they were ready to set the foundation for the bridge that very day! We discovered that our foster care system had three pressing needs:
- a way to bring awareness to the need for foster parents and help with recruiting more foster families
- aid with the initial financial needs of equipping a home to be foster-ready
- creating a support system for the foster parents and families in the area
In partnership with our local Human Services Department, Red Cedar built programs and events to meet each of those three needs. Red Cedar now hosts Foster Parent Interest Night meetings throughout the year. We supply new foster families with all the necessary “start-up” items that are needed for their home to be ready to foster children—things like smoke detectors, fire ladders, and child safety kits.
We hold spectacular social events throughout the year including a Christmas Celebration where we get to love on not only the children, but also the foster families. On Foster Family Date Nights, the church provides free childcare with activities galore for the children and allows the parents a few hours to do whatever they want.
Red Cedar also created a monthly support group for foster and adoptive parents, a group that gets together to share stories, pray, support, and lean on each other in their unique walk.
Today, Red Cedar Church’s bridge with the foster care system is solid, well-maintained, and loved by both sides. In fact, we found the partnership was very much needed, and so more are being built. Our neighboring county’s foster care system is reaching out to us, stating that they want to do this, too. Red Cedar Church is here to serve. We have already expanded to a second county and expect the partnerships to continue to grow as God expands our reach for more ministry.
Watch this 6-minute video of the story of a family arrested for drugs and then wonderfully helped and redeemed through Red Cedar’s Foster Care ministry.