By Tim Durkin, Baptist Family & Children’s Services
COLUMBIA, Md.—The staff, trustees, donors and clients of Baptist Family are very grateful to Maryland/Delaware Baptists for your generous and continuing support.
Thanks to your prayers and donations, 2008 was a banner year for Baptist Family. Our programs served more people than ever before, and we were able to add significant capacity, improving the quality of our care in equal measure to the increase in quantity. We are pleased to report the following progress:
Record-breaking material assistance. As in years past, Baptist Family headed efforts to provide poverty-stricken families with support at back-to-school time and Christmas. Funds and supplies were raised from a variety of sources, including individual donors and Baptist churches in Maryland and Delaware. Four thousand three hundred one kids were served in these combined events, up 60 percent from 2007. A year of strong fund raising was critical to this effort, as it allowed us to upgrade the staff person responsible for these two projects from part-time to full-time. Her extra hours returned extremely good results.
Families have told us many times that without our assistance they would not have been able to provide anything for their kids at back-to-school and Christmas. We have been blessed by strong partnerships with local churches that care deeply about their communities.
Record-breaking information and referral. Strong fund raising also allowed Baptist Family to hire a part-time staffer to man our information and referral hotline. Families in all kinds of crises (financial, psychological, medical) call Baptist Family for help. To assist families whose needs for help are beyond the scope of our programs, we have long maintained a directory of local organizations whose services complement our own. In 2008, we focused on updating and improving the quality of that directory and increasing the number of hours staff were available to answer calls for help live, rather than responding to a message left on voicemail.
These efforts paid off, as GSN staff responded to 411 calls for help in 2008, an increase of 64 percent over 2007. God has given us many opportunities to provide clients with a listening ear, encouragement, and prayer. One caller prayed with Baptist Family staff and even accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord.
New opportunities in transitional housing. In 2008, we also saw GSN’s acquisition and lease of two new single-family homes that the program will use to provide transitional housing services to homeless families. One home, in the Pen Lucy neighborhood of Baltimore City, is already in use. The other, in Baltimore’s Brooklyn neighborhood and a partnership with the First Baptist Church of Brooklyn, is currently being outfitted with furniture and supplies.
The impact of this program is massive. The family in our Baltimore City house is a young married couple with an infant. We have been blessed to help them grow and mature, and to raise a healthy child while working and going through school.
Foster care goal well met. Our CHOSEN Treatment Foster Care program met its 2008 goal, caring for 70 children. CHOSEN receives children via referrals from county-level Departments of Social Services. It then matches referred kids with trained treatment foster parents. CHOSEN kids are treated by individual families in individual–not group–homes. The child’s treatment is implemented by our foster parents and overseen by skilled Family Treatment managers employed by CHOSEN.
Major success was accomplished in transforming foster families into adoptive ones. Of the 70 children in our care in the past year, 12 have been adopted by their foster parents or are in the final stages of their adoption. This is a fantastic result, which shows that we have matched our foster kids with the best possible foster families.
Two of our foster children are preparing for baptism into the churches of their foster parents. Please pray for them and for all of our kids.
In all, we at Baptist Family are proud of the work we accomplished in 2008. We took major steps in the service of our mission, and laid solid foundations for future work.