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HUGE Ministry need---helping young adults get on their feet


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This isn't a very good title but I can see that there is a huge need for the church to meet with vulnerable young adults that aren't ready to be on their own yet are too old for help in the system.

 

Three situations that I have personal contact with:

 

1. 18 year old girl, in foster care for 7 years but never had parental rights terminated and therefore never adopted. Graduates highschool in June and then is done with any foster care help. No longer can stay in her foster home, no help, and in Michigan NO JOBS. She is now living with her boyfriend with her bio dad (whom she was not allowed to live with by the courts while still a minor).

 

2. 22 year old girl, mild fetal alcohol. My friend's adopted daughter's bio sister. Moved here from out of state, no job, no driver's license, and doens't really have the skills needed to support herself due to the fetal alcohol.

 

3. 27 year old girl with mild fetal alcohol moved from out of state with her 25 year old boyfriend (with mental illness that is NOT medicated at this point) along with their 8 week old baby. He is on disability and has never worked, very immature and not stable at this point. She is developmentally more like a 13-15 year old with no job. They both love the baby but really need some help with parenting skills, major help needed with money management (spend entire disability $ in 1-2 days and have no money the rest of the month), job training, etc.

 

These are people who are falling through the cracks. I see a HUGE need for some sort of transitional housing/mentoring help to help them gain the skills they need to be on their own. They need help with budgeting, job training, accessing health care, medication management, parenting, etc.

 

We almost need foster care for young adults. I told my friend she needs to add a wing on her house and open up a home for young women that need some help to make it.

 

Sad to say, all of these situations involved kids, now young adults, that were in the foster care system at points in their lives but the help wasn't enough, early enough, etc.

 

Maybe someday my husband and I will do something like this--like with an in law suite for a vulnerable couple, mother and child, young adult, etc.

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I agree with this, and even see help needed for single moms escaping bad/abusive situations. I have experience with a few and it's been a nightmare for them to get any help. Their kids are dragged along with them.

 

But it's so hard to know if it's the right thing to open your own home up to such people without knowing the impact it could have on your own kids. I'm sure that's where the blessing could come from, but if harm were to come to my own kids while I was trying to help someone else, I'm not sure I could forgive myself. But helping financially somehow, or with counseling or mentoring, yes.

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But it's so hard to know if it's the right thing to open your own home up to such people without knowing the impact it could have on your own kids. .

 

I would not do this with my girls still at home. I see this as a huge area of ministry for those "empty nesters" that might have the room in their home, experience with parenting teens/young adults, etc. but not have younger children at home.

 

I will do what I can with helping them access services, providing some support, etc. but I can't take them in as I do have my girls to consider.

 

We just need something to break this vicious cycle of kids in foster care growing up to have kids that end up in foster care.

 

There is also a big gap in help/support for those that are borderline functioning---too high to be mentally impaired and get disability but not high enough functioning to live on their own successfully. I think we will see more of this as we have more and more of the fetal alcohol children growing up to be young adults.

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Our church (our new church we started going too) has an adult equipping school on Sundays. The next 8 weeks they are doing budgeting using Dave Ramsey's books. I was never taught on running a family and budgeting, and neither was DH, so we are looking forward to it! I think there is definitely a need. All the public schools near us have cut all the home economics programs. Many of those kids will need things like that too.

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Our church (our new church we started going too) has an adult equipping school on Sundays. The next 8 weeks they are doing budgeting using Dave Ramsey's books. I was never taught on running a family and budgeting, and neither was DH, so we are looking forward to it! I think there is definitely a need. All the public schools near us have cut all the home economics programs. Many of those kids will need things like that too.

This is all well and good, but the church has to realize that the majority of people in poverty don't have enough money to make budgeting decisions. Those who are in poverty aren't in debt - they've never had enough money to get into debt. Additionally, a budgeting course is not going to help someone who doesn't have the mental capacity to understand the concepts presented. Ongoing assistance is needed in many lives and often ministries only throw band-aids on wounds and hope the people will go away so they don't have to see the scar.

Edited by TechWife
to clarify first sentence
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This is all well and good, but the church has to realize that the majority of people don't have enough money to make budgeting decisions. Those who are in poverty aren't in debt - they've never had enough money to get into debt. Additionally, a budgeting course is not going to help someone who doesn't have the mental capacity to understand the concepts presented. Ongoing assistance is needed in many lives and often ministries only throw band-aids on wounds and hope the people will go away so they don't have to see the scar.

:iagree: Dave Ramsey material is not the solution -- help like teaching them a skill for entering the workforce is better. Or a program that shadows the person to keeping the job, baby, life skills and such. That is a difficult situation.

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This is a huge need. My own step dd is 22, living on her own, barely making it. She has had lots of help, but will not make good decisions. I really hope that God guides you to find a way to help people without making them further dependant. I am not good at helping a little, I do too much, and it doesn't go well. Please let us know as you start something, you will be in my prayers.

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Guest janainaz

That is a great idea. There is definitely a need. Most kids that go through that type of family life/trauma, just learn to 'survive'. Many of them can't see into the future because they are too busy bearing the burden of today.

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I agree that there needs to be some kind of support. Lucky for that foster girl that she was a ward until she graduated. In our state she is released from foster care as soon as she turns 18 - and it doesn't matter if she has graduated or not. I think that is just tragic beyond words. And then to only have available the family that was deemed not good enough before as your support system.

 

For the others with FAS and mild disabilities, I so wish there was more help. I have a brother with high functioning autism (or Aspergers depending on who was making diagnosis) and he just needs help. He will never be able to make a budget and keep it, or support himself but I so wish there was a place he could go that was safe, that encouragee Christian values, that encourages friends and some structured activities that are fun (like game night or taco night or movie night and so on). His IQ is too high for other programs and he hates having family do so much for him. But he would listen to a good mentor from another place.

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This is a huge need. My own step dd is 22, living on her own, barely making it. She has had lots of help, but will not make good decisions. I really hope that God guides you to find a way to help people without making them further dependant. I am not good at helping a little, I do too much, and it doesn't go well. Please let us know as you start something, you will be in my prayers.

 

There are a lot of people who are given help and who continue to make really bad decisions. There is not an easy fix for people who are like that. It may take years of working with an individual before they are really able to function. I don't know how many churches are really able to commit to this type of ministry.

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I think there are a lot of programs out there...but many young people don't really know how to access them. Some sort of advocacy/mentoring/discipleship would be really helpful.

 

DH and I are leaders in our church's young adults ministry. Most of the "kids" who come are on a good path--they grew up in the church, are in college or recently graduated, have good jobs, etc....but we do have one girl who is in the middle of a (necessary) divorce and needs a lot of support, another who is 23 with 3 kids (oldest is 7), and many of the stable ones still benefit from having someone who cares about them and can listen and give advice/friendship/prayer.

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There are a lot of people who are given help and who continue to make really bad decisions. There is not an easy fix for people who are like that. It may take years of working with an individual before they are really able to function. I don't know how many churches are really able to commit to this type of ministry.

There are many churches who are able but not willing. Not everything can be "fixed" - some people may need help all of their lives due to their abilities. Some people may need help temporarily or for the intermediate term. Helping people is hard work. There are many things that can't be fixed in this world with a Band-aid.

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I agree that there needs to be some kind of support. Lucky for that foster girl that she was a ward until she graduated. In our state she is released from foster care as soon as she turns 18 - and it doesn't matter if she has graduated or not. I think that is just tragic beyond words. And then to only have available the family that was deemed not good enough before as your support system.

 

For the others with FAS and mild disabilities, I so wish there was more help. I have a brother with high functioning autism (or Aspergers depending on who was making diagnosis) and he just needs help. He will never be able to make a budget and keep it, or support himself but I so wish there was a place he could go that was safe, that encouragee Christian values, that encourages friends and some structured activities that are fun (like game night or taco night or movie night and so on). His IQ is too high for other programs and he hates having family do so much for him. But he would listen to a good mentor from another place.

 

Yes, these are the kinds of people that fall through the cracks. In our area CMH and other services have had so many cuts that it is very hard to get services for adults, esp. if they are borderline functioning at all.

 

My own son has FAS. He has an IQ of 55 which thankfully qualifies him for disability and services. He though could live semi-independantly but there aren't any programs like that around here---like efficiency apartments with on site "house parents' to just check up on them each day, help with transportation to medical appointments, keeping up with meds, etc. He will never be able to manage his own money. He gets $5-10 at a time and can handle that but he can't grasp the difference between $5, $50 and $500.

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