On average, six to 10 children in Sumner County are placed in foster homes through the state’s Department of Children Services each month.
In an effort to enlist more foster and adoptive parents, two of the area’s largest churches are partnering with DCS and the Middle Tennessee Orphan Alliance to educate the community about the state’s foster care program.
The idea for the Hope for a Family conference, set for Oct. 25 at First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, came from a similar conference held in February at Brentwood’s Fellowship Bible Church. That conference, held in conjunction with the national group Focus on the Family, drew more than 800 people and inspired more than 100 families to adopt children who were currently in the foster care system.
When Mike McClanahan, a pastor at First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, had lunch with fellow pastors Cory Haney and Parker Manuel of Long Hollow Baptist Church and Mike Pennington, director of the Bledsoe Baptist Association, they discussed the need for a similar event on this side of Nashville.
McClanahan contacted Fellowship Bible Pastor Marty Schwieterman, who is also chairman of the Middle Tennessee Orphan Alliance — an alliance of Christian churches and community partners formed to address the issues of local adoption and orphan care.
Schwieterman’s alliance had recently partnered with DCS and welcomed the opportunity to try to inspire more foster care involvement in Sumner County.
“If you ask people what they think about adopting or becoming a foster parent, 80 percent think it’s a good thing,” Schwieterman said, “but most people don’t know how to take the next step.”
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SOURCE: The Tennessean