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What is a TFI Advocate?

By February 8, 2024February 15th, 2024Blog

The Church is uniquely positioned to care for the foster care community, but they often don’t know how. They need a guide, someone who understands the foster care community. Agencies desperately need support as they work to care for the foster care community, but they often don’t know who to reach out to. They need an advocate, someone who understands the Church.

They need someone to bridge the gap, which is exactly where our TFI Advocates come in!

It’s no secret that we love our TFI Advocates and talk about them often! We can’t wait to welcome more in, which is why we’ve opened applications to become a TFI Advocate during the month of February! This is new for us. Normally, you’d have to wait until the Spring, but we want to meet you now!

Want to learn more about this role? Great! Let’s do this!

Why the TFI Advocate Role Exists

Here’s a short version of the story that inspired this role:

Many years ago, after multiple rejections in our adoption journey, we found ourselves waiting again. I begged God to give me His perspective, and that’s when I felt Him say, “Jami, it’s not about bringing a child into your family, it’s about bringing your family to a child.” This new perspective opened the door to a whole new world for us called foster care.

With my kids in tow, I walked into our local foster care agency to find out more. I saw the rooms where children waited to be placed with a foster family, but the rooms didn’t look friendly or welcoming. The rooms felt cold, and it broke my heart. I had to do something.

With permission from the agency, I called out to my family and friends to help create a space that would make children and families feel special, and they jumped into action. I got to see many of God’s people make a lasting difference in our community and in the lives of vulnerable families and children. Through this, I learned a valuable lesson: God’s people care about the foster care community, but they don’t always know where to begin or how to help.

This is at the very heart of the TFI Advocate role—to help connect agencies and churches.

  • Agency workers directly interact with foster parents, vulnerable adults, and children in foster care and understand the real needs in the community. Navigating each unique case brings challenges, including long emotionally draining hours, never-ending paperwork, and limited resources. Agencies need encouragement and additional support as they step into the lives of others.⁠
  • Church leaders strive to help their church tangibly share the love of Jesus but often struggle to know how to help or where to start when it comes to the foster care community. Churches need someone to help them engage.⁠
  • TFI Advocates help bridge this gap. They develop trusted relationships with the agency by listening and learning. They then work with church leaders, pointing out ways the church can utilize their gifts by coming alongside the agency.⁠

What Makes a Good TFI Advocate?

The Advocate role is a volunteer position for humble, passionate followers of Jesus who long for the foster care community to experience the love of Jesus and believe the local church is the solution but don’t want to reinvent the wheel or do this work alone. TFI Advocates understand the importance of connecting with people and building trust. They seek to communicate clearly, show up consistently, and communicate the love of Jesus through their regular presence and care.

Here are just a few other traits a great TFI Advocate would emulate:

  • They love Jesus and want to show His love to others.
  • They want to help churches become more aware of foster care, and see them step in and care for their communities.
  • They want to encourage their local foster care agencies through meeting needs, and sharing gospel hope.
  • They are committed to a vision that is much bigger than themselves, they want to see communities transformed by the power of the gospel.
  • They see the opportunity in every obstacle, to step in and love people in all their messiness.
  • They listen with the desire to understand so that transformation is rooted in empathy and humility.

If this sounds like you, we encourage you to apply. The application process is designed to help both TFI and you determine if we are a great fit to work together. Applying is a step to a greater conversation.

What Does a Day in the Life of a TFI Advocate Look Like?

We’ve seen that a TFI Advocate typically averages around 5 hours each week distributed between relationship-building, ministry planning, and administrative organization. The reality is that a day in the life of a TFI Advocate will vary depending on the unique needs of their community! No two TFI ministries are the same and yet each TFI Advocates role is the same: to build trusted relationships with local churches and a foster care agency, mobilizing churches to meet needs identified by the agency.

You might find a TFI Advocate dropping goodies off at a foster care agency with a small group from their church or planning a donation drive for household items for a youth aging out of care with another church. You might also find a TFI Advocate arranging prayer for the foster care community with a women’s ministry.

TFI Advocates regularly meet with a contact from their local foster care agency to learn about their community’s needs. They work with churches to identify their strengths and areas of passion to determine what opportunities they might step into. TFI Advocates are connectors.

What’s the Benefit to Working with TFI?

As a TFI Advocate, you will have a team ready to support you with personalized coaching, professional resources, and intentional community. Our proven model will guide you toward a thriving ministry, one where you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can spend time building relationships and getting to know people rather than creating promotional materials or handling donation. You get to be part of a network of like-minded passionate leaders all across the United States.

What Happens After I Apply?

Our team will review your application and reach out for a conversation with applications who we feel like might be a good fit. From there, we extend invitations to enter our 3 month training before launching a TFI ministry in your community. Throughout the process, you’ll have dedicated staff to meet with you and walk you through each step. We are truly in this with you as a TFI Advocate! We know you will hit roadblocks and obstacles and we want to help brainstorm and pray with you through them.

TFI Advocates are the very heartbeat of our mission to connect churches with foster care agencies through awareness, encouragement, and advocacy. They are at the frontlines of being the hands and feet of Jesus to children in foster care, foster families, agency workers, and biological parents.

If you feel passionate about the foster care community or want to facilitate connecting churches with real needs, we encourage you to apply to become a TFI Advocate!

We are in this together!

Jami Kaeb

Jami is the Founder and Executive Director of The Forgotten Initiative. Adoption, foster care, and advocacy were not part of Jami’s dreams for her life, but God changed her heart when He made her aware, and she is passionate about helping others become aware too! She and her husband Clint are parents to their seven children (five through adoption).

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