Amanda and Jeremy Parton, with their daughters four-year-old Kimsey and 10-year-old Ellie, are a Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) foster care family. Currently, they have one foster child living with them.
“Being a part of an organization that aligns with our Christian faith is so important,” Jeremy Parton says. “It was a blessing joining the BCH family.”
BCH is building a statewide network of foster care families. The immediate goal is to have 30 BCH foster care homes by the end of 2017.
“We are passionate about this ministry,” BCH western area foster home supervisor Bob McCleary says. “It is our intention to grow the foster family care ministry, but it is important to recruit families that have the best chance of being successful. And then we spend a lot of time working to make the best match – putting the right child with the right family.”
Amanda Parton says meeting the challenges they face as foster parents is easier with the support of BCH’s foster care case managers.
“I can pick up the phone and call any time with a question or just have someone serve as a sounding board,” she says. “The support is great and the training provided makes us better able to face whatever may come. The training covers many things – things you may never realize you need until something happens – and then you’re prepared.”
McCleary says his job consists of recruiting foster care families, placing a child in the best home to meet that child’s needs, and supporting and training foster parents. “We can do everything the way it needs to be done, but if we fail to support our foster care families, then it can all be lost. Nothing can kill the passion of dedicated foster parents more than lack of support.”
The Partons say they were raised in Baptist churches where they learned about BCH. They were thrilled when they learned BCH was recruiting foster care families.
“From day one, we had confidence in this ministry,” Jeremy Parton says.
“To know God was leading us to become foster parents and then to learn we could serve through BCH, it was God’s hand.”
McCleary says serving children and families through foster family care homes is a way BCH can even better meet the needs of children. He says some children thrive in a setting like Broyhill Home. Other children are served best by living with a foster care family like the Partons. BCH offers both options.
“A smaller foster care home environment with parents, and maybe siblings, can be the perfect setting. Our focus is always what’s best for the child,” McCleary says.
The Partons both work outside of their home. Jeremy directs Haywood Pathways Center – a nonprofit that serves the homeless, and Amanda is a department chair at South College in Asheville. Their lives are hectic, but both agree that being foster parents helps create balance and reminds them what is important day to day.
“I see homeless people everyday who did not have the support of a Christian home when they were children,” Jeremy Parton says. “The children who come through BCH are ‘homeless’ and need a family – whether they need a home for a short time or a longer time, whether it’s at a place like Broyhill Home or in a foster family home like ours. What we do now for children will make their lives better as they grow into adults.”
Amanda agrees. “We want to give a child hope – for now and for the future. We share our home and strive to show them what a relationship with God looks like.”
McCleary stresses the importance of a foster family being focused on mission. “It is not a way to make extra money. BCH’s foster homes must have adequate income to financially support their family without relying on the foster care payment. Foster care payments only reimburse for room, board and supervision.”
Children entering foster care range in age from infancy to age 21. The situations they come from can be very diverse. What they all share is a need for a place to call home, a place to belong, and people who will love and nurture them.
A foster family home provides 24-hour, seven-days-a-week care for between one and five children. Families are required to have family foster licensure which includes, but is not limited to:
Applicants must meet the minimum age requirement of 21 years old. There is no upper age limit.
Applicants must have stable income and a home in a North Carolina community within 100 miles of one of the following BCH locations: Kennedy Home in Kinston, Mills Home in Thomasville, or Broyhill Home in Clyde.
Applicants must complete an application, have a mutual home assessment and a criminal background check.
Applicants and family members must meet minimum physical and mental health requirements.
Applicants must complete 30 hours of pre-service training through BCH.
To find out more about becoming a foster family, contact one of the following BCH representatives:
In western North Carolina, call Bob McCleary at 828-593-9648, or email him at email@example.com.
In the central part of the state, call Danetta Christmas at 336-474-1238, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the East and along the coast, call Christopher Allabaugh at 252-933-3650, or email him at email@example.com.
You can help make a difference in the lives of hurting children through BCH's Foster Care Ministry. Learn more about family foster care at https://www.bchfamily.org/help/foster_care