Stephanie Shivers is an administrator for The Village House and provides trauma-informed care to foster and adoptive families at Church of the City in Franklin, Tennessee. Previously, Shivers served in a variety of roles for Bethany Christian Services, including as assistant director from 2019 to 2022. She received a masters of counseling degree from Colorado Christian University.
Pure religion cares for orphans and widows in their distress, says James 1:27. This verse is the heartbeat of our church at Church of the City in Franklin, Tennessee. If you attend Church of the City for any length of time, you’ll quickly come to realize that starting at the pulpit caring for vulnerable children is foundational.
We believe that not everyone is called to foster or adopt, but as the Body of Christ, we are all called to help — provide care in the form of a meal, laundry services, babysitting, prayer or simply an encouraging word to foster and adoptive families. When these families feel loved and cared for, they can better care for the vulnerable children in their homes.
An estimated 391,000 children are currently displaced from their homes and in foster care. These children are unable to live with their biological parents due to abuse, neglect or other unstable living situations. For these reasons, children find themselves either living with family members, close friends or in a foster home. Children in foster care come from a hard place and have endured trauma, which often creates higher needs and requires more care and attention than a biological child.
Church of the City’s Wrap Around ministry provides support to foster families within our church in multiple ways. The Jones family, for example, have three biological children and two foster children. Sally, another church member, recently attended Wrap Around training and has a desire
to provide two meals a month for the Jones family. Christy provides weekly laundry support by picking up their clothes every Wednesday morning and bringing it back, laundered and folded, in the evening. John and Betty provide relief care for the family two times a month by watching all five children for 2-3 hours so Mr. and Mrs. Jones can enjoy a much-needed date night. This unit makes up a Wrap Around team for the Jones family.
Another service of our Wrap Around ministry is called Wrap Around Closet, which provides free clothing, toys, car seats and other needed items for the care of a foster child to families all across Middle Tennessee (and even outside Tennessee). The Wrap Around Closet serves 30-40 families weekly and 60-100 kids per month.
Wrap Around ministry can look different in different contexts. This ministry plays a vital role in supporting vulnerable children, their families and their foster families, and it enables churches to participate in systemic change for a better community. This is how we bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).Watch Kelly Rosati's presentation at Flourish on adoption & foster care