Children At Risk

One less. That’s our heartbeat. 

Children at Risk, also known as OneLess, focuses on caring for children in vulnerable places. We want to see one less child abandoned, one less child aborted, and one less child trafficked. To accomplish our mission, we support Grace Church families as they pursue adoption, foster care, or temporarily hosting children. We embrace single moms who are pregnant or parenting as well as those healing from terminated pregnancies. We also raise awareness, pray, and reach out to victims of human trafficking in our communities.

Hosting Kids

Providing support to vulnerable families before their child(ren) end up in the foster care system is a huge need and an incredible opportunity to share the love of Jesus and the hope of the Gospel. One of the ways to provide help is by temporarily hosting children. This gives the parent(s) needed respite so that they can regain stability.

As a church, we are committed to supporting our host families. We provide practical resources including diapers and clothing. If you are hosting, we’d love to stay connected. Contact Kirsten at  .

How do I become a host family?

We partner with Together for Good, a faith-based non-profit that uses a holistic, Gospel-centered approach to coming alongside isolated families. To begin the process of becoming a host family, visit tfgood.org and click on the link to “JOIN.” Then Together For Good staff will follow-up with next steps.

How long does hosting typically last?

The average length of stay is about six weeks, but placements can last from three days to three months. Some factors affecting the length of stay include the severity of the family’s crisis and the willingness of the biological parent to address the issues involved in the crisis. You can also sign-up to provide respite hosting, which means you will support a family who is providing longer-term care by hosting for short stays.

What type of child can I expect?

These are normal children coming from sometimes very difficult circumstances. Each child will respond to the situation differently, depending on their personality and coping skills. Some may show little response to their life circumstances while others may be deeply affected. Please note that the children are not believed to be victims of abuse or neglect. If they were, they would have been placed in foster care and not eligible for hosting.

Who can host kids?

Singles, married couples with children of any age, or couples without children are welcome to host kids.

I cannot host kids at this time. Is there anything else I can do?

YES, there are many ways to engage! You can support a host family with practical needs: help drive, provide a meal, or run errands. Or you can invest relationally in a biological mother. In most cases, hosted kids are being raised by a single mother, and to move forward and work through their crisis, they need to a healthy support system. You could invite her to church or Bible study, help her learn new life skills, apply for a job, etc. There are so many ways you can serve!

Foster Care

Providing critical, temporary care and housing for children in crisis is an ongoing need throughout our state. In addition to traditional foster care, there are also opportunities to provide short-term and specialized foster care through counties or private agencies. Listed below are ways to begin your foster care journey.

Counties

For licensing and placement information, please visit Carver County, Scott County, Hennepin, or Dakota County.

Private Agencies

St. David’s and Bethany Christian Services provide licensing, training, and support for foster families.

Resources

  • Safe Haven Foster Shoppe creates placement bags for children when they are first assigned a foster home. These bags are age-, gender-, and size-specific and are delivered to the child’s new foster home upon request.
  • Foster the Love creates placement bags for children when they are first assigned a foster home. They also provide support and extensive resources for foster parents.
  • Minneapolis Angels runs The Love Box Program, where they provide foster families holistic support through community and resources.

Foster Parent Support

  • Foster Care Reimbursement Fund – These funds are used to support families within Grace Church who are fostering. These funds directly support our strategic initiative to care for at-risk children. Find out more about our applicant criteria and process.
  • Support Groups – Foster care support consists of a variety of ways to connect with other foster and adoptive families. We have Connected Child book studies and periodic equipping sessions. Our goal is to encourage parents through community to help them face the unique challenges of parenting children in foster care and support them with prayer, care, and resources on their journey. For more information, contact Kirsten Bengtson at .

Current Support Groups

  • Need a little break? Enjoy an evening out while your kids get a fun-filled evening of games and activities. This free event is for 0- to 12-year-old foster, adopted, or host children and their siblings. A pizza dinner will be served.

Upcoming Respite Nights

As a church, we want to provide support for and encourage our foster care families. If you are currently providing foster care or beginning the process, email Katie Morton at .

Adoption

We want to encourage and support adoptive families and families as they journey through the adoption process.

Adoption Resources

The process of choosing an adoption agency and understanding the overall adoption process can be overwhelming. This resource list — while not exhaustive — provides various adoption agencies used or recommended by Grace families as well as adoption grants and loans, resource websites, blogs, and books.

Adoption Support

Current Support Groups

  • Need a break? Enjoy an evening out while your kids get a fun-filled evening of games and activities. This free event is for 0- to 12-year-old foster, adopted, or host children and their siblings. A pizza dinner will be served.

Upcoming Respite Nights

Adopting from Foster Care

While the primary goal of foster care is to reunite children with their birth families, this is not always the case. As of September 2016, there were almost 500 Minnesota "waiting children" in need of adoptive families. For a listing of Minnesota children currently waiting for adoption and for information about the adoption process, you can visit MNAdopt.org. Bethany Christian Services also assists with adoption from foster care, including training for adoptive parents.

Serve

Making a commitment to host, foster, or adopt a child is a big step and might not be something you’re able to do. There are many other ways to engage and make a difference through our OneLess ministry. Here are additional ways you can get involved:

  • Royal Family Kids Camp 
  • Respite Night Volunteers
  • Support a Host, Foster, or Adoptive Family
  • Mentor Young, Single Moms
  • Together for Good Biological Mothers Outreach
  • Stop the Trafficking 5K Planning Team

Current Volunteer opportunities

Embrace

We embrace single women, in their teens and twenties, who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and those who are parenting. We also come alongside women who have had an abortion. We embrace each woman and extend God's love and care, while sharing the beautiful Gospel message of grace, forgiveness, healing, redemption and hope.

Facing an Unplanned Pregnancy?

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, we are here to help. Here are a few resources and opportunities.

  • First Care Pregnancy Center offers comprehensive services, free of charge, including pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, pregnancy counseling and information, adoption services, referrals and resources, and parenting education.
  • Join our Embrace Grace group. Whether you are planning to parent or pursue adoption, this group will provide a place for you to make new friends in similar circumstances and find hope-filled support and encouragement.
  • If you would like to connect with a woman who has experienced an unplanned pregnancy, we are glad to connect you. This could be an ongoing mentoring relationship or a one-time meeting. E-mail Kirsten at if you're interested.

Embrace Grace: A Group for Single Pregnant Women

Embrace Grace provides emotional, practical, and spiritual support for single pregnant women, in their teens and twenties, who are facing an unintended pregnancy. This 12-week program teaches young women about God’s love and grace, and at the end, we throw a baby shower or an adoption celebration to honor them for choosing life and to help provide for their babies’ needs.

We use the program and curriculum provided through Embrace Grace Ministries. For more information about this program, visit embracegrace.com.

Embrace Life: A Group for Single Moms

Embrace Life equips single, new moms, in their teens and twenties, so they can learn to flourish in their relationship with God and not only survive in life but thrive! These brave moms will learn spiritual and practical ways to help navigate their way through life so they can rediscover their capabilities, passions, and dreams. Embrace Life meets weekly and includes a fall semester (Sep-Dec) and a spring semester (Feb-May). Each semester ends with a Life Adventure Day focused on blessing each mom in a fun way. We use the program and curriculum provided through Embrace Grace Ministries. For more information about this program, visit embracegrace.com.

For moms who completed Embrace Life, we now offer Embrace Life PLUS. This group follows the same schedule as Embrace Life and focuses on spiritual growth (walking with Jesus in every day life), while addressing practical areas such as parenting, career planning, budgeting.

Embrace Hope: A Post-Abortion Support Group

This nine-week confidential group is for women who have had one or more abortions and covers forgiveness, anger, shame, and the renewing of one's mind in Christ. We embrace each woman on her journey towards hope and healing.

Mentoring and Outreach

All Current Embrace Groups

Stop The Trafficking

There are over 20 million slaves today — more than any other point in history. Modern-day slavery or human trafficking is the selling of a human being by means of force, fraud, or coercion to be used for labor or sex. No country is immune, including our state and our own communities. The average age of entry for sex trafficking victims in the United States is 12–14 years old.

We have the opportunity to engage with our community to make a difference – through prayer, awareness events, and reaching out to survivors of sex trafficking. Consider joining us in one or more of these initiatives!

Prayer

Our text-based prayer group is a community-wide effort in partnership with area churches to support local police on the front lines in the fight to end sex trafficking. We have connections with Christian police officers in Eden Prairie and the larger metro-area who update us as prayer needs arise. These requests are focused on operations to target buyers, those trying to purchase a minor for sex or victims who have been identified but are not yet recovered. We ask all those who receive the text stop and pray for it in the moment and throughout the week. To join, simply text the keyword JOINSTT to 43506. Download more information.

Outreach

We have the opportunity to reach out to those currently involved the life of exploitation as well as helping survivors of sex trafficking. Through partnerships with local organizations, we assist with practical needs, partner through Big Serve events, host retreats, assemble and provide Blessing Bags, and more. For more info, email Christine Erickson.

5K Event

We begin planning our annual June 5K event in the fall, and there are many opportunities to help with sponsorships, promotions, and race-day preparations. And of course, we’d love to have you join us on race day. For more info, visit stopthetrafficking.org or email Christine Erickson. All proceeds support anti-trafficking organizations with an emphasis on supporting the restoration of sexually-exploited youth.

Children At Risk Staff

View All Children At Risk Staff