With over 60 children and youth in foster care in Ashley, Bradley, and Drew counties and the crisis building across the country, thousands of churches plan to echo a united message on Stand Sunday, Nov. 10.

Christians across the country will celebrate God’s love for vulnerable children – and what ordinary people can do to put that love into action!

Locally, The CALL in Southeast Arkansas is joining the global celebration by asking community churches to recognize this special day during services Nov. 10.

By participating in Stand Sunday, churches can “stand” in the gap for these children and youth through a focused day of worship, prayer and awareness, according to The CALL representatives.

In the United States, there are more than 400,000 children in the foster system due to abuse and severe neglect. About one quarter have been permanently removed from their parents.

For these children, the wait for a family often exacerbates trauma the child suffered in their own home.

Every year, more than 20,000 “age out” into adulthood without a permanent family.

Foster youth face immense difficulties. Children aging out of the system without the support of a family are far more vulnerable to traffickers, prostitution, homelessness and a host of other ills. A 2013 human trafficking raid by the FBI found that 60 percent of child victims came from foster care.

Seeking to change these numbers, faith communities across a wide range of Christian denominations plan to unite on Stand Sunday to challenge churches to be an answer for these children.

If every church in America adopted just one child from foster care, there would be more families waiting for children than children waiting for families.

The need for families can feel overwhelming. However, through the efforts of local churches in Arkansas working together with The CALL since 2007, over 2,200 families have opened their homes to foster or adopt and over 18,000 children and youth have been cared for, with over 1,500 children and youth finding their forever families through adoption.

But there is so much more to do. Current needs are for more than 2,500 new foster homes. The solution for this is the local church!

To find out how churches can make a difference in the lives of children and youth in foster care, contact Deborah West, county coordinator for The CALL in Southeast Arkansas at 870-308-9502.

To request free Stand Sunday materials and event ideas, email SEA@thecallinarkansas.org.

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