"Fostering is definitely a work of mercy," said Domingo, "and works of mercy are transformative."
"Having families in your parish involved in fostering with the rest of the parish coming around them to surround them and support them, can be that transformative element that can help our parishes to overcome polarization," she said.
There is a lot of untapped potential in our Catholic communities, according to Domingo, who together with Archbishop Jose Gomez launched a campaign to raise awareness of foster care needs in the Los Angeles archdiocese last October.
They organized presentations at just 15 parishes in the archdiocese, and "the response was overwhelming," said Domingo.
"We had over 300 families in just 15 parishes come forward to register to get trained as foster families," she continued.
Even if someone is not called to foster or adopt a child, there are many things that Catholics can do to support these children.
"You can do anything from cooking a meal to providing transportation or even taking some of those children into your home. You can serve as a mentor. You can work and find ways to get your church involved," suggested Natalie Goodnow, a research fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.
One concrete way anyone can help is through respite care, recommends Goodnow. Respite care involves watching a foster family's kids for a couple days to a week, allowing the foster parents to have a break.
People can also volunteer as "court appointed special advocates," or CASA for short. Through CASA, a person is matched with a foster child's case, and advocates for the child throughout the duration of their time in the child welfare system. Goodnow pointed out that there is no legal experience required to participate.
Another organization Goodnow recommends is "Safe Families for Children", which supports struggling families at risk of being separated through foster care.
Tutoring and mentoring a teen in foster care can also make a transformative impact, said Goodnow, who continued:
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"There is tremendous potential for the faith community to do even more. I don't think that we have fully tapped into what this community is capable of."