The homeless population comprises a tragic number of children, many of whom need special help from caring individuals. If your church works with these homeless children, you may want to volunteer your time and energy to help them in any way possible. Thankfully, there are several steps that you can take to improve this situation and make this whole experience better for the child and yourself.
Talk to the Child About Their Situation
Did you know that 90% of all missing children didn’t understand directions or poorly communicated their plans to their parents? Among these children are also runaways or kids who thought life at home was too complicated and that they needed to get away from their parents.
Talk to them about this situation to see what kind of help that they may need. Lost children may just need to be sent back to their parents, so seek them out and take them there. If the child reports abuse, talk to local child services and let the child stay at your church until officials come to help them.
Seek Out Temporary Housing
What happens if you cannot find a child’s parents or child services cannot come to you for a few days? You’ll need to help the children temporarily by finding them a place to stay. There should be someone in your church willing to share a spare bedroom and a meal with a homeless child.
If nobody can help, you may need to put up a place for the child in the church itself. Find someone who can stay with the child and watch them, bring them meals, and provide a bed to sleep in the church. These steps help to keep them safe until help arrives for them.
Provide Help for Children of Divorces
Divorces are often very hard on many children and could be a significant cause of them running away. For example, some children may simply miss one parent and try to run away to see the other. That’s because they spend around 277 days with their custodial parent during a divorce case.
In this situation, it is important to contact both parents and talk about what is happening. Your church may have counselors that can volunteer to mediate between the two camps. In this way, you can sort through the confusion and help the homeless child better understand the divorce situation.
Teach Them About Hope and Inspiration
When homeless, it is straightforward for children to lose sight of the good in life. They likely don’t have a lot of hope and inspiration in their lives. Therefore, you need to do what you can to bring them a sense of the wonders of the universe and help them feel more comfortable and happy with themselves.
You can also integrate them into various church activities to bring them even more hope and inspiration. For example, you can find some kid-friendly activities and peer students who enjoy working with homeless friends. In this way, you can bring more joy into their lives.
Find a Great School
Lastly, it might be essential to help a child find a school to learn if they are somehow out of class. Even though 130,930 K-12 schools are operating in the US at any time, children often fall through the cracks when they’re homeless and end up being poorly educated.
Identify a school that specializes in teaching young, homeless children and try to get the child enrolled. Talk to their parents, if you can find them, and let them know about these steps. You can’t register a child without their parents’ permission, so make sure you take these steps to avoid conflict.
If your Church takes the time to volunteer with young homeless children in this way, you can inspire them in various powerful ways. For example, you can show these young people that there are good individuals in the world and trust people sometimes.