Harvest of Hope Family Services

Mobilizing community resources to find immediate, sustainable, caring foster homes and adoptive families
Not only do we place the child [into a foster home] but we service the home that they’re in. So once a family becomes licensed and they take a child in, we don’t go away; we become a part of a family.
– Katherine Taylor, Family Services Advisor, Harvest of Hope

Over 400,000 children are in the U.S. foster care system, and close to 100,000 are in need of adoption. These children face high risks of remaining in the cycle of dependency — including poverty, incarceration, homelessness, violence, and high drop-out rates.

The SOLUTION

Founded in 1996 by Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Harvest of Hope Family Services, is leveraging effective solutions for the foster care crisis facing the country. Harvest of Hope’s unique model focuses on training churches and communities to provide qualified, long-term loving foster family homes, supporting them with training and care, and facilitating successful aging out of those homes. By promoting personal growth, skill development, intellectual competence, and financial stability, they focus on permanence in the foster home that provides children with the stability needed for success. Additionally, they manage resources for the state of New Jersey to provide long-term solutions for the timely placement of displaced children.

At any given time, over 400,000 children reside in foster care in the United States, and close to 100,000 are eligible for adoption. One out of 10 children in foster care has been in the system for at least seven years — and the longer they spend in the system, the more placements and instability they are likely to experience. Without stability and a nurturing environment, these children face high risks of remaining in the cycle of dependency. Harvest of Hope exists to give these children the best chance of a stable, caring childhood.

The Story

In 1996, Dr. DeForest “Buster” Soaries Jr., the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, incorporated foster care into his church’s ministry programs in response to the state’s crisis. Harvest of Hope was born and has since become the largest, most effective entity in the state dealing with the shortage of black foster care homes and retention of those homes in the system. To date, Harvest of Hope has successfully placed over 1,400 children in loving homes, with nearly 300 of these children being adopted, and has achieved an 85 percent retention rate of foster parents participating in their network.

S+ Partnership

Harvest of Hope Family Services, Inc. offers a transformative approach to foster care and a valuable opportunity to revolutionize the way states handle foster care — a solution that stands in stark contrast to failed government programs. Through organizational support, Stand Together plans to help Harvest of Hope scale their New Jersey model nationwide, beginning with a new initiative in the state of Arizona. With better care, support, and permanency, young individuals will have far greater chances to achieve long-term success and self-sufficiency for a brighter future.

Somerset, New Jersey
est. 1996
Leadership
Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr.
Founder and CEO
Read bio
Dr. Soaries is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, and the founder and CEO of Harvest of Hope. His pastoral ministry focuses on spiritual growth, educational excellence, and economic empowerment. Dr. Soaries has received numerous awards for his leadership and community service, and he serves as a frequent advisor to major corporations in the areas of diversity, philanthropy, and community relations. Dr. Soaries is also the author of Say Yes to No Debt: 12 Steps to Financial Freedom, and dfree Lifestyle: 12 Steps to Financial Freedom (UMI). His government service includes Secretary of State of New Jersey (1999-2002) and Chairman of the United States Election Assistance Commission (2004-2005). Dr. Soaries is a graduate of Fordham University (BA), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv), and United Theological Seminary (DMin).
Locations
Arizona, New Jersey, Kentucky
Success Metrics
1,400
children placed in family homes
300
children adopted
50%
of foster children graduate from high school, compared to 82 percent of the general population
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