BRIDGETON – Exciting times are on the horizon for Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, trustees learned at their Jan. 23 meeting at the main MBCH campus.
Budgets, regulatory hurdles, and the challenge of ministering to children and families in need will always be present, but MBCH President Russell Martin said there is reason to be optimistic in the coming days.
For one, Martin and a Missouri Baptist foster family – Matt and Julie Kearns of Jefferson City (Matt is the Making Disciples Catalyst for the Missouri Baptist Convention) – met with Missouri’s first lady, Sheena Greitens in January. They discussed the challenges and opportunities of taking care of Missouri’s children in need, as well as the ways state and churches cooperate toward the goal of every one of Missouri’s 13,000 foster children living with a loving, stable family. There are only 4,792 licensed foster homes in Missouri.
They also discussed several upcoming pieces of the pro-life agenda, including
- Reauthorizing the pregnancy resource center and the maternity home tax credits
- Re-funding the annual Alternatives to Abortion appropriation to its $6 million plus amounts
- Removing barriers to women carrying unborn children conceived in rape by revoking the parental rights of the rapists, rights which some men still have under state law
- Requiring that the second parent be notified in addition to first-parent consent before a minor can consider an abortion.
“The tax credit programs are exceptionally beneficial in helping finance the costs of providing the needed services to respond to young women who are experiencing untimely pregnancies,” Martin said. “I encourage you to encourage your senator and representative to support this.”
In other reports, MBCH Children and Family Ministries facilitated 79 family reunifications last year, oversaw 33 guardianships and 96 adoptions. 41 girls and young women were served by MBCH’s human trafficking rescue ministry, and 120 babies were born by women counselled by MBCH crisis pregnancy centers.
MBCH also officially announced it acquired Southwest Special Care Homes of Springfield Nov. 30 of last year. Also known as The Branches at Brookline, the home for developmentally disabled adults joins Country Haven as an MBCH adult ministry.
Martin and several staff and board members will fly to Moldova Feb. 20 to meet with a local children’s home and local Baptist leaders. After the Missouri entity hosted leaders from a Ukrainian Baptist children’s home last year, the ministry is looking at ways to partner, equip and learn from its European counterparts.