About Keystone Family Alliance
Keystone Family Alliance is comprised of representatives from different churches around the state of Pennsylvania. We aim to educate, motivate, and equip every Christian in the state of Pennsylvania on the needs of orphans and vulnerable children, both locally and globally. Everybody can do something to positively impact these children, and the Alliance wants to help you find YOUR something. We bridge the gap between the desperate need of the child welfare system and PA churches. Agencies and caseworkers struggle to find new foster and adoptive families to meet the current, overwhelming need. Keystone Family Alliance mobilizes Christians from around Pennsylvania. For some, it is registering to meet tangible needs of foster, adoptive, and biological families through our online portal, Gateway. For others, it is serving on an engineered Care Community to support a local family for a year. For churches, Keystone Family Alliance provides the framework and support to help churches successfully recruit families to care for children in their communities to become these much-needed placement homes. There are so many ways to do something.
The value of a good support group for foster and adoptive families is significant. Without a proper support system, 90% of foster families quit before two years, because fostering is hard work. By comparison, 90% of foster families who have a wraparound Care Community end up fostering beyond two years.
THAT GOT US THINKING, WHAT IF WE HAD:
in all 500 Pennsylvania school districts willing to take sibling groups and children over the age of eight on standby, ready to accept foster children located near them?
willing to wrap around each of those foster families, acting as a Care Community, a support network helping with meals, cleaning, transportation, prayer, and more?
working together in each of the 67 counties to expand our efforts to provide "more than enough" to the families and children in their communities and neighborhoods?
registered in each of PA's 67 counties to use Gateway? That would be more than 35,000 Christ followers around the state ready to meet tangible needs as they arise.
It all started with a simple question
In 2008 in State College, Pennsylvania, Pastor Vince Smith was meeting weekly to pray with a group of local pastors. They started to ask "what can we do together to serve our community?” When he asked what they thought about starting an orphan care ministry, they all immediately responded with, “Let’s do it!” He asked them to find a representative from their church who would be willing to meet with the other representatives. Within a few months, we officially became the Centre County Orphan Care Alliance. Before long, the Church in Centre County had become the number one recruiter of foster and adoptive homes. We were beginning to make a difference. We soon realized that foster families were dropping out almost as fast as we were recruiting them. We’ve since learned that 50% of foster families quit before the end of their first year, and 90% within two years. It’s hard work when you invite children from hard places into your home.
We began to realize that we needed to do a better job of supporting the families we were recruiting. So in 2010, we started the James 1:27 email list that grew from 30 families to 550 families willing to meet tangible needs anytime a local social worker would share that need. We saw the church meeting all kinds of needs from strollers, cribs, beds, gas cards, repair work, and even mentors for biological moms.
A few years later, we learned of a ministry called Promise686, who had a system in place to develop engineered care communities who would wrap around foster families. They began to discover that when a foster family has a care community wrapping around them, 90% of those families were fostering beyond two years. Well supported foster families will foster longer and stronger. We knew we needed to partner with Promise686 to bring Care Communities to Centre County. Then in 2020 we began to hear God say, "It’s time to take what you are doing in Centre County to the other 66 counties in the state. " We went public with the vision in February of 2021 and the response has blown our minds. We started to hear from people in other counties who felt the calling to do something to advocate and support foster and adoptive families.
At the beginning of October 2021, we were active only in Centre County, but by October 2022, God had raised up county coordinators in 10 counties across the state and Keystone Family Alliance was gaining some God-given momentum.