Thornwell and The Church Partner to Serve Those in Foster Care

Together, We Can Change a Child’s Life Forever.

Your generous spirit has inspired a community of support that’s taken the heart of Thornwell into cities across the Southeast! For 145 years, we’ve served as an extension of the local church, empowering thousands of people to join our mission to prevent child abuse and neglect, build up and reunite families, and support healthy communities in the name of Jesus Christ.

Foster Care is one of the many ways we partner with churches to serve children and families. And when it comes to foster care, we all have something to offer–whether it’s prayer, financial support, your famous casserole dish, babysitting, a gift card, or even a new forever family. You can make a difference in foster care!

First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg embodies the strength of this partnership with Thornwell and beautifully demonstrates what it means for the Body of Christ to take an active role in foster care.

First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg church member and Thornwell Board of Trustee Harriet Ike put it like this, “We didn’t really know what we were doing. We just had a lot of faith and decided to go for it!”

You see, it was Harriet and a dear friend, First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg Mission Committee Member, Sally Owen, who made a commitment to support the mission of Thornwell through their local church.

It started with a luncheon where members of the church gathered to learn about Thornwell’s ministry, our unique continuum of care, and ways to get involved. Not long after that divine appointment, two families came forward with a calling to foster and began the licensing process with Thornwell.

Together, Thornwell and the church have something special to offer foster families. This is the beauty of Thornwell’s long history and partnership with the local church–missions united to help children and families in need.

While the families were going through the licensing process, Harriet and Sally quickly formed a church committee. “The key was to find a diverse group of women. We engaged those we knew would help and those who were close to the family; we knew they would be sensitive to the needs,” said Sally. “We really didn’t know what they might need. I mean, we knew meals and potentially some donations, but what happened was far greater than anything we could have anticipated.”

One foster mom said, “A retired teacher and church member came to visit and sat on the floor and played with my little boy. On the way out, she asked, ‘Does he have a tricycle? Every 3-year-old needs a tricycle!’ The next thing I knew she was back with a tricycle! It was done in the most quiet and thoughtful, servant-hearted way.”

With a single phone call, another new foster mom, who was prepared to take in an infant, learned she would be receiving twins – not one but two infants! Harriet said, “The church text thread began, and within 45 minutes, the family’s needs for the second baby were met!”

Harriet said, “We thought we were signing up to serve; we had no idea hearts would be changed. Much more than us helping these children, these children have been a gift to us!”

While the church provided physical, spiritual, and emotional support to the family, Thornwell came alongside the families to support the licensing and placement process with things like obtaining a Medicaid card, managing case and court logistics, serving as a DSS liaison, and supporting family reunification and adoption transitions.

Foster children and families need all of us.

You can be part of this mission to help those impacted by foster care! Contact us to get involved. Some of us bring children into our homes, and the rest of us find ways to serve and support them!

Let’s change history together! You make it possible!

Whether you’re an individual, a family, a community group, or a church, there are significant and powerful ways to support foster care. If you want to learn more about foster care or how you can get involved in your local community, we are here to help! 


Jill Gibson

VP for Mission Advancement


Jon Sampson

Foster Care Recruiter


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