Economic realities of the last few years have had a significant effect on many parents. They struggle—from providing basic needs such as food and a place to live to securing adequate childcare as they work in full- or part-time jobs that do not earn enough for them to provide life-giving homes for their children. The United States Census Bureau reported that in 2011, there were 46.2 million people in poverty. Many others are fighting each day to stay above that poverty line.
Bethany sees people and families in these situations daily, and strives to provide assistance with various programs and by partnering with others to meet needs and keep families together. The following are a few of examples.
Life Impact Fund
Research has shown that over 70 percent of women have an abortion due to financial reasons. In the United States, only 1.3 percent of births to unmarried women result in adoption. Some of the birthparents coming to us indicate that they cannot afford to raise another child as they already have one or two children. These are single parents who are working and trying to support themselves and their children. Bethany's counselors work with these mothers in a variety of ways to help them parent their children—providing assistance with immediate and urgent financial needs through our Life Impact Fund. Through this fund, small amounts of aid are provided that can help a woman with rent or food for her family’s immediate need. It is our desire that if an expectant mother chooses to place her child for adoption, it is for reasons beyond financial need.
Safe Families for ChildrenTM
The economic downturn since 2008 has affected children and families, with an increase in reported child abuse and neglect. Economic difficulties also result in more domestic violence in crisis within families. One way Bethany assists families in crisis is through the Safe Families for Children ministry. This ministry is designed to help parents who find themselves in a crisis and need someone to temporarily care for their children. Volunteer host families come alongside these families, providing a safe, caring home until the parents are able to care for their children again. This ministry of love through the Christian community results in keeping families together.
At Bethany we believe awareness of community resources prevents the breakup of families and can prevent child abuse and neglect. During economic turndowns, state governments reduce the services available to families. We believe it is important for the Christian community and governments to work together to solve the financial crisis families experience. One of Bethany’s principles is to always engage the government in the Christian community in providing services to children and family. The structure and resources from government and the resources of the Christian community together provide the best response to children in need.