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The dark side of foster care
By Romanita Hairston     April 19th, 2016

On any given day, there are approximately 415,000 children in foster care in the United States. While meeting with two friends a few weeks ago, one of them mentioned a young woman with whom they had recently reconnected after a long break. This girl, Sandra (name changed), had been one of those 415,000 children. As my friend Kenzie shared more, the story quickly touched my heart. Sandra had been in the foster care system in Oregon. Now she was couch surfing, a term used for going from one friend's home to another, sleeping on the couch, as a way to maintain housing. The story went from complex to almost impossible to miraculous. The young woman was trying to graduate while couch surfing and trying to meet requirement to obtain state support, which entailed the ability to prove a level of stability. This was made all the more challenging by the fact that she had no stable place to live and was finishing high school while depending on the kindness of friends that allow her to couch surf...

The Randomness of Compassion: An Interview with Romanita Hairston
By Romanita Hairston     April 15th, 2016

Your work focuses on the real, daily needs of children right here in our own neighborhoods. But sometimes it seems easier to think about the needs outside of our borders, like focusing on the hunger faced by children in far-off countries. Why do you think that is?

The things happening in our neighborhoods are actually connected to us—and who wants to deal with that? "I don't want to deal with me, but I'd be more than happy to deal with you." You know both are necessary, there's room in the kingdom of God for both to happen, but one typically requires us thinking about our priorities in relationship to others. Issues at home require us to think about our actual life choices and the ways that we live in relationship to others.

You often partner with churches and other faith-based organizations in your work. What’s your perception of how effectively, or not, the American church is engaging the problems in our own backyard?
I'm extremely hopeful for the possibility of the church. I h...

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