We want to periodically highlight some of the ministries that we support here at County Line. This week we want to talk about Safe Families, a worldwide organization started in 2002. This ministry was started because there was was a need for reliable support when families are going through hard times. Safe Families came to Fort Wayne in 2014.
Safe Families exists to help people in tough times, but they hope to bring the church to the forefront and not have the government send children into foster care. Safe Families is similar to foster care in how children live with families that are not their own. The difference is that this is all on a voluntary basis. The parents volunteer to have someone care for their children in the short term. The family that cares for the child(ren) are also all volunteer and are not compensated. Safe Families partners with churches in the area to find volunteer families.
The process for Safe Families is as follows:
First, there is a family that is typically going through some crisis. The crisis may be homelessness, a single mom having a baby and the other kids need to be cared for, mental issues, incarcerations, etc. The first thing that happens is a call to an intake line. Safe Families ask lots of questions to make sure they are a good candidate and that they are genuine. If Safe Families believes this would be a good fit, then they begin looking for a host family. Once the family is found, mom or dad signs power of attorney, waivers, etc. There is coaching setup to work with the parents in the meantime, and they are encouraged to stay in contact with their kids. Safe Families has a 95% reunification which is an encouraging number and shows that what they do works. The average length of stay for children is two weeks.
Safe Families has three goals, first is to prevent child abuse and neglect. Second is to keep children out of the foster care system. Thirdly is to support and stabilize families.
As a church, we partner with Safe Families to find volunteers. That being said, they can always use more volunteers especially people willing to be host families. If you are willing to be a host family or if you simply want more information you can contact Jen Bergdall at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also look at Safe Families website at www.safe-families.org