Churches are needed to help special needs children

By March 10, 2004

USA (MNN) — There are thousands, perhaps even millions of special needs children in the United States. Children that have been abandoned, neglected, orphaned through some kind of tragedy. These little ones are drawing the attention of Bethany Christian Services and they’ve started a program in Michigan to help.

Bethany’s Kimberly Offutt is heading up their “Partners in Prayer” program. It’s a program aimed at getting kids out of foster care and into permanent families. “It’s a recruitment effort,” says Offutt. She says, “It is the responsibility of the church, the body of Christ, to save this generation of lost children. So, ‘Partners in Prayer’ is actually all about the churches getting more involved in prayer and recruitment for children that are in foster care or who need adoptive homes.”

Offutt says there’s one way ALL churches can get involved. “The most powerful thing that we ask is that the church get involved in praying for these children,” says Offutt. She adds, “Having the women’s group pray, the men’s group pray, the youth group pray. Have them praying for them is the first thing and the basic thing that any church can do.”

Offutt says after prayer the need is education. Once Christians understand the need, many receive God’s call to add children to their family, or to begin their forever family. And, as families add children to their Christian homes, they’re able to give them a spiritual foundation and help point them to Christ.

All of these children are considered special needs. “When I say special needs, I don’t necessary mean that they’re handicapped, or physically or mentally handicapped, it’s just the simple fact that (they’re) older than five,” says Offutt. She says, “If you’re African American, you’re special needs. If you’re a part of a sibling group your special needs, because they want to keep the children together. We have sibling groups of three, four and five that we need a special family for.”

“Partners In Prayer” started in Michigan in September. So far there are 25 churches participating in Michigan. She says if this program succeeds Bethany hopes it will spread across the country. If you would like more information about “Partners in Prayer” call (616) 224-7512.

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