What is Families Count? FC is a gospel based, family restoration and preservation ministry of Lifeline Children’s Services http://lifelinechild.org/ Lifeline empowers local congregations to own this ministry in their area, in hopes that, participants will make a long-term connection to the church for support and discipleship.
Who are we seeking to help through Families Count? Most moms and dads participating in a FC program are seeking to be permanently reunited with their children, following Child Protective Services, or Drug Court intervention. Occasionally, there are parents who are in danger of being separated from their children and are working on family preservation. The critically important factor to remember, is that the parents coming to FC love their children deeply and are fighting to be with them.
What does the Families Count program look like? Most moms and dads seeking reunification with their children are required to take a parenting class. Families Count begins with a 6-week biblical based parenting class that meets this requirement. Each class has a prepared meal time allowing everyone participating to get to each together and build relationships. Childcare and transportation are provided when possible to assist the parents who have needs in these areas. Each participant is prayed for and offered a mentor to help guide them throughout the program. Finally, every effort is made to connect the class participants with a local church where they can continue to find love and support.
Why Families Count? Current national statistics show that one-third of children who are placed in foster care and then reunited with their birth family, will re-enter care within three years. One of the major goals of Families Count is to see the gospel of Jesus Christ come to these homes and parents connected to a local church, in hopes of bringing an end to cycles of disruption and restoring the family.
How is this program gospel based? FC was founded by individuals who believe that God is a reconciling God who has given the ministry of reconciliation to his church (2 Corinthians 5:18). Reconcile means to make consistent or to restore to harmony, and we believe that God has uniquely called and equipped the body of Christ to minister reconciliation to families in crisis. The classroom material is professionally written parental training, based on biblical teaching, that focuses on God’s view of the family.
How are parents referred to Families Count? By God’s grace, FC has the support of judges and employees of child services in the Birmingham area. Because FC is faith-based, no parent can be forced to come to this class. However, results from previous classes have helped FC to develop a good reputation among local officials and social workers, who refer the students to this program.
How can I help? This ministry will not be possible without your participation. Each class has several areas of need:
Kitchen Team: Responsible for preparing a meal for the moms and dads.
Serve Team: Responsible for greeting students when they arrive, serving the meal, and most importantly: sharing the meal in hopes of making a connection!
Child Care Team: Responsible for taking care of the kids that the moms and dads may bring with them during the class.
Transportation Team: Willing to give parents a ride to and from the class if the family does not have access to a vehicle.
Mentors: Willing to contact a mom or dad during the week to check in on them, encourage them in the class, and invite them to church.
Intercessory Prayer Team: Responsible for meeting weekly to pray and intercede for the class participants.
Are parents allowed to participate without a referral? Yes. Parents can self-refer to the program and will be placed in a class as availability allows. Simply email us for more information.
When will Families Count be held at Agape? Please email us at FamiliesCount@AgapePinson.com for more information on how to participate or serve in this program.