CSCA holds holiday dinner

Published 10:03 pm Thursday, November 17, 2011

Approximately 408,425 children were in the foster care system in 2010 according to a recent report released by the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System Report. Of that number, nearly 7,000 foster children resided in Alabama. One local organization is the catalyst to uniting foster children and their families — bringing relief.

The Christian Services for Children in Alabama, or CSCA, has helped Dallas County and counties across the Black Belt since 1991. As a unit of the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church, which is headquartered in St. Louis, the agency and ministry works in partnership with the Alabama Department of Human Resources, Department of Youth Services, school systems and other community agencies to support stability and permanency for foster children. Executive director Cynthia M. Stinson, who has been working with the agency since 1991, said the goal of the agency is to reconnect families.

“Kids that have to live out of home care face many challenges both emotionally and physically,” Stinson said.

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“We recruit foster parents within our area and surrounding areas to act as a core treatment team …”

Stinson also said those parents can help children achieve and overcome the many issues that they are faced with.

“The desire is to reconnect and reunite (children) with birth or biological families,” Stinson said. “ (But) there are cases where children and youth transition to adopted homes or independent living.”

The CSCA met with their partners Wednesday for a Thanksgiving Appreciation Dinner.

“Once a year we do this in appreciation of the people we work with,” Stinson said.

Of the many services CSCA provides, it also provides a family preservation program known as Family Outcome Centered Unification Services, or FOCUS.

Stinson noted that the family environment must be safe before the agency can step in. CSCA has ongoing recruitment strategies to generate potential therapeutic foster parents to serve children and youth who are unable to live with parents.

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