The problem is evident, there are approximately 16,000 children in North Carolina’s foster care system. The solution to providing homes to these boys and girls who have been removed from their families, for their safety and well-being, has been elusive — until now.
Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) are launching “EVERY CHILD Foster & Adoption Ministry,” a partnership to offer every child the caring home that he or she deserves through the direct involvement of North Carolina Baptists.
“God in His omniscience has been preparing us for this moment,” says Michael C. Blackwell, BCH President/CEO. “Throughout the past several years, we have seen BCH’s family foster care
ministry grow beyond our expectations. We also added the ability to provide adoption services through the merger with Christian Adoption Services.
“Today, the Lord is strengthening an already firm foundation between Baptist Children’s Homes and the Baptist state convention as we step into this new chapter of missions and ministry together so that we can share hope with every vulnerable child.”
Todd Unzicker, who was elected as executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina in May 2021, brought a vision of impacting child homelessness into his new role. Through discussion and prayer, BSCNC and BCH forged the partnership to carry out their shared vision.
“The Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina is a vital ministry partner and we are excited about the launch of the ‘Every Child’ initiative,” says Unzicker. “There is a tremendous need for foster care and adoption across our state and North Carolina Baptists can be part of the solution.”
EVERY CHILD Foster & Adopt Ministry is an outgrowth of the family foster care service that has allowed BCH to establish nearly 120 family foster homes throughout North Carolina. The majority of the foster couples were identified when BCH staff, in cooperation with pastors and leaders at the couples’ churches, shared the opportunity for them to be trained and licensed through BCH.
It is this model of working directly with churches that is the heart of the new EVERY CHILD Foster & Adoption Ministry.
“The church is the answer, and over 16,000 children await.” — Todd Unzicker
“Imagine if North Carolina were a state where no child experiences homelessness and every child in need had a safe, loving home where they could learn of Jesus’ great love,” shares Unzicker. “With God’s help, I believe such a vision can become a reality as our family of N.C. Baptist churches works toward this goal with BCH.”
As liaison to 77 local Baptist associations, the BSCNC is able to help cast the vision for EVERY CHILD throughout its statewide network of almost 4,400 churches and connect them with BCH’s foster/adopt staff.
Through EVERY CHILD, BCH’s statewide foster and adopt staff provide the following:
- Training and licensing for couples in churches who desire to foster or foster-to-adopt — training takes place at the time and place convenient for the participating church.
- Working with couples and individuals to adopt or foster-to-adopt domestically
or adopt internationally.
- Equipping churches to provide ongoing ministry and support for foster and adoptive parents and their children in their congregation.
- Providing ongoing support to participating churches and families.
- Offering trauma-informed training to help with boys and girls who come from traumatic circumstances.
“The church is the answer, and over 16,000 children await,” proclaims Unzicker. “I believe N.C. Baptists can help every child in our state.”
“When you look at this number it seems overwhelming, but we serve a God in Whom all things are possible,” he says. “If you divide 16,000 by 4,400 churches, that equates to four children per church. If every N.C. Baptist church stepped forward to care for four children, the number of N.C. foster children becomes zero.”
To learn more, watch testimonial videos or to set up an information meeting at your church, visit every-child.org or call at 1-800-476-3669.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on the Baptist Children’s Homes website.