Your blood should boil when you see children neglected and abused. That same anger should be directed at the courts and congress who far too often do the same. Here is guidance on how to courageously advance justice for children.
1. Be a good neighbor.
13 malnourished children were chained in a home in California. News reports revealed neighbors were aware of children but never saw toys or activity. The lawn would grow weeds as high as six feet tall but no one said anything until a brave 17-year-old girl escaped.
Too often we hear stories of young girl victims of horrific abuse through sex trafficking in quiet neighborhoods. How can that be? Many ask ‘where is God?’ But the real question is ‘where are you?’
Understand the reality of child abuse and speak up. If you suspect trafficking call the national hotline – 1-888-373-7888 or text “help” to 233733. If you suspect abuse or neglect find your state hotline for child protective services.
2. Advocate for Children with Congress.
Nothing made me angrier than seeing people treat children like pawns. My wife and I struggled with infertility desperately wanting children while others neglected and abused them. My private law practice handled family cases where kids were mere pawns in a fight for control. I even represented one set of parents who fought over who had to take their child – neither wanted him!
We are appalled at these individual stories, but we do the same as a nation. Why are kids at the center of a control debate over funding and borders? We may not fund the government because innocent kids need health insurance (CHIPS) and stability (DACA). The public supports these children by wide margins and yet like bickering parents Congressmen leverage children to obtain political power. That is no less despicable when politicians do it than when parents do it.
Call or e-mail your Congressman. Demand extension of CHIPS and the passage of a DREAM Act to protect children who came to this country through no fault of their own and are fully integrated Americans.
For more read our blog on “3 helpful ways to advance justice for dreamers”.
3. Advocate for Children Caught in Courts
Every work day a child is caught in a court battle. Sometimes an adjudication over abuse and neglect, sometimes custody. Sometimes the child needs the stability an adoption or guardianship can provide. The American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law does a wonderful job of advocating in the system, but they need help outside the system.
Safe Families is a wonderful ministry intervening in broken families often before the state gets involved. They offer a safe haven for children who would likely otherwise be victims of neglect or abuse. Consider hosting a Safe Families Sunday in your church on Sunday, February 11.
Another great organization is Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). This organization trains people to come alongside children in the court system and advocate for them. Often these volunteers are invaluable to guardian ad litems who officially represent the child’s interest and to the court.
4. Join Gospel Justice Initiative
We advocate for children. Presently we are in 64 site locations across the country and every week we help children. Whether Cheyenne whose grandparents wanted to adopt her because one parent was in prison and the other died, or Sid who was abused and neglected but his uncle was willing to step in and secure guardianship to protect him.
I met Lucy at a church legal ministry this last week. She eagerly ate the home baked goods and played with toys while her mother met with a lawyer to discuss her need for protection from abuse. The needs are great and the opportunity to bring the love of Christ into these dark areas even greater.
Will you help us rescue and restore neighbors in need? We recently revised our site to better incorporate the book Gospel Justice which shares so many of these stories. Watch the video, visit the site, and dare to get engaged in the battle for gospel justice.
If you are a church leader your church can make a difference in your community without cost or liability. We will empower and equip you to do legal ministry. Visit our new church leader page to learn more.
If you are a lawyer, don’t let your lack of expertise stop you from courageously advancing justice for children. You are needed. A strong support team will help you make a difference. Don’t let another second tick away for someone in need. Visit our lawyer page to get started.