BRIDGETON – Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH) trustees affirmed their policy of who can be trained as a foster parent, heard a clean audit report and issued a plea to help send MBCH kids camp at their board meeting here April 28.
MBCH Children and Family’s Ministries fielded requests for 92 therapeutic group homes the first three months of 2015, more than half of the total for all of 2014. Requests for pregnancy services were also up for the first quarter, with 63 requests versus last year’s 40. MBCH currently has trained or services 460 foster families this year.
Gifts to the Children’s Home through the Cooperative Program so far this year were down 4.6 percent and the Missouri Missions Offering 1.8 percent. However, gifts from wills and bequests were up 25 percent over the first quarter of 2014. It can be difficult to get a financial snapshot of MBCH in just the first quarter of the years, especially when so many tax credits will be purchased in December. The Children’s Home, which serves as the umbrella corporation for its affiliates such as the MBCH Foundation, MBCH Children and Family Ministries and the Light House in Kansas City, has brought in 7.6 percent less revenue so far in 2015, but also decreased expenses 1.8 percent. It had a positive balance of $106,289.78 before making distributions to those affiliates. The Children’s Home’s auditors presented trustees a clean audit report.
Ron Robinson, who serves as the chairman of the MBCH Children and Family Ministry and is the pastor of First Baptist Van Buren, noted one statistic he is not pleased to see. So far, there have been no professions of faith this year. Thirteen accepted Christ last year. But Robinson said he is hopeful that the MBCH camp coming up the week of Aug. 3 will result in children accepting Christ.
“We’re not just taking care of kids now,” he said. “We want to help kids take care of eternity also.”
It costs $100 for a child to attend the MBCH camp, and the board is seeking sponsors to help cover the costs as well as for prayer for the campers and workers.
Trustees on the MBCH Children and Family Ministries board unanimously adopted a revised policy on who MBCH will train to Missouri state standards to be foster parents, a policy that was later affirmed by a vote of the full MBCH board as they met in executive session. The clarified policy says in part that “We believe the best family for a child is a Christian man and woman living together in a covenant relationship (marriage) with a life-long commitment to each other.”
“To accomplish our mission statement and to support our values, it is our purpose to recruit, train, and maintain the licenses of evangelical Christian home as foster/adoptive parents,” the policy continues.
Wording updates were made and the policy affirmed after questions were brought to the board by a Missouri Baptist concerned that MBCH trains anyone the state sends their way, including those that may not be in harmony with the MBCH mission statement.
“In order to be ‘salt and light,’ we will train any individuals who come to us for training as foster parents who meet the State’s licensing standards,” the MBCH policy states. “Should we be asked to conduct an assessment on a family and find they do not meet our higher standard of what it takes to be a foster parent but do meet the State’s standards and would not put children at risk, we will indicate in the evaluation section of the assessment that the family meets the standards of the State of Missouri for licensing as a foster parent.”
As part of a privatization of foster care in the northwest quadrant of Missouri, MBCH subcontracts to do the training, assessments, and manage the foster home licenses issued by the state. For more information on the state’s requirements, go to the Department of Social Service’s website at http://dss.mo.gov/cd/fostercare/.
“Our policy has not changed,” says Russell Martin, president of MBCH. “This has been our practice and will continue to be our practice. We will maintain in our own system of foster care only those families who meet our own higher standard.”
Martin said that in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of children, youth, and families in Missouri, MBCH needs Christian families to respond to God’s call to serve Him and His children as foster and adoptive parents.
The board next meets July 27-28 at its main campus in Bridgeton.