Fostering a Generation: Discovering the Church's Theological Obligation to the American Orphan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Ministerial Leadership (MAML)


College of Christian Ministries and Religion


Department of Christian Ministries and Religion

Primary Advisor

Brian M. Kelly Ph.D.


The twenty-first century American family has gradually become more unstable and unstructured as an increasing number of parents forsake their responsibilities to their children to seek the fulfillment of their own selfish desires. Among the most affected by this trend are the foster youth who have been removed, in some cases against their will, from the unsafe environments their parents created. These youth are forced to take on responsibilities and roles that caring and attentive parents would have filled had they followed God's plan; for many teenagers these added responsibilities are more than they can handle. According to Ephesians 6:4, fathers are not to provoke their children to anger, but are commanded to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. God has a specific plan and structure for the family, and when the family is derailed from that intended structure it is the children who suffer the most. Many children enter state care with the knowledge that they will never be reunited with their families, understanding that the chances of adoption are slim. The question that begs to be asked is how can the church fulfill the physical and spiritual needs of foster youth who are preparing to age out of state care and take on the responsibilities of adulthood?

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