Osceola County church inspires other congregations to help local foster children

by: Jamie Holmes Updated:

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - A church in Osceola County has started a movement to put more foster children in permanent homes and help foster families is catching on.

“We believe here at Freedom Life Church, that we can change the world, by changing the world of one person,” said pastor Chad Dillon.

In Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, there are 683 children in foster care, but only 630 beds.

The numbers ebb and flow, but the problem is the same—too many children, and not enough families to care for them.

Dillon and his congregation though have spent the last year assembling a team to tackle the problem head-on.

He and his wife have not only adopted themselves, but have inspired the congregation to do whatever it can to either adopt, foster or help foster families, even if it’s mowing a lawn or cooking a meal.

“I would say in total we have at least 12 or more children that have been affected by out church in the last year,” said Dillon.

More than 30 people in the church are part of the foster response team and the idea has caught on. In the last year, six other churches have started something similar.

“These are our children, not somebody else’s. And what I really love about our faith community is, it’s real,” said Glen Casel, of Community Based Care. “We’re not talking about someone you’ve never met. We’re walking about one of your members sitting next to you in your pew.”

The need for foster families isn’t going away, but for Dillon and now a growing number of congregations that need now comes close to their own homes and hearts.

“(These are) is the people that live in our own back yard,” he said. “This is our realm of influence. And it all begins right here.”