SAN DIEGO — At any given time, there are approximately 4,000 children in foster care in San Diego County. Most of them have entered foster care after experiencing neglect.
“Many of us hear those kinds of statistics and immediately feel overwhelmed,” said Janelle Peregoy, associate director of the diocesan Office for Family Life and Spirituality. “(We tell ourselves) I couldn’t possibly become a foster parent.”
But while fostering is a challenging ministry, especially for first-time foster families, there are ways that Catholic parishes can support them.
To explain how, the Family Life and Spirituality Office will host a panel discussion titled “Embracing Our Vulnerable Children: Supporting Foster Families in Our Parishes.” It will be conducted via Zoom from 7-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 12.
The event is the latest installment in the Family Life and Spirituality Office’s “Healing Pathways for Families” workshop series. The series is designed to provide parish leaders and interested parishioners with the information and tools to better minister to today’s families.
During the panel presentation, current foster parents will reflect on the joys and challenges of their ministry. Host families associated with the organization Safe Families for Children, who take in at-risk children for temporary periods of time, will also share their experiences.
Virtual attendees will also hear from representatives of nonprofit organizations whose mission is to help parishes accompany the foster families within their own communities. These include Restoration 225, represented by Executive Director Lisa Christy, and Olive Crest, represented by Church & Community Engagement Associate Missy Bell.
“The reality is that there are many ways that our parishes and people of faith can respond to the needs of vulnerable children and foster families,” Peregoy said.
She added, “We especially welcome current foster families and anyone interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent to use this presentation as an opportunity to connect and network with each other.”