(This is the second post in a two part series about Safe Families for Children. We highlighted this ministry in our services two weeks ago. Perhaps you missed the service, or would like more information, and would like to read the short interview with County Liner, Jennifer Bergdall, who volunteers for this ministry.)
I’ve heard of Safe Families, but what is it that you do?
Safe Families for Children hosts vulnerable children and creates extended family-like supports for desperate families through a community of compassionate volunteers motivated by their faith to keep children safe and ultimately together with their families.
Founded in Chicago in 2003, Safe Families for Children (SFFC) is a multi-site volunteer movement that gives hope and support to families in distress. SFFC reframes how families are supported during a crisis. Parents voluntarily place their children in safe, loving homes where they are cared for while the parents seek to restore stability in their lives. SFFC is dedicated to family support, stabilization and, most importantly, child abuse prevention.
SFFC is a community-based movement predicated on the belief that the safety and health of children in our communities is the responsibility of all of us, and that parents are the key to providing that well-being for their children. Accordingly, SFFC focuses on strengthening and supporting parents so they can be safe families for their children. SFFC is rooted in faith-based principles of welcoming strangers into our hearts and homes.
FAMILY COACH FAQ
I don’t have any social work background, am I still qualified to be a family coach?
Yes. A social work background is a big help, but not a requirement. A family coach must have a heart to minister to vulnerable moms and have the knowledge and ability to help her set and attain reasonable goals in order to provide a stable environment for her children. You will go through training and shadowing before taking on a placement by yourself. It is a well supported process to become a family coach.
What is the time commitment to be a family coach?
This varies widely. Most of our current family coaches work full time jobs in addition to coaching. We would say on average you would need to be able to commit at least 3-5 hours a week when you have a placement. When you are not currently assigned to a placement, you will not have any time commitment.
How much training will I receive as a family coach?
Coaches go through an interview and approval process, do online as well as live training, shadow a current coach, and then get shadowed by a coach as you take the lead in a placement. After all that, you are trained and ready to take on solo placements. It seems like a lot of training, but the coach role is very important and valuable in making a difference in the placing mom’s lives!
What is my main role as a family coach?
A family coach supports the host family and makes sure they have the resources they need, such as meals, diapers, clothes, arranging transportation and childcare, etc.
The coach also monitors the safety and care of the placed children. This is primarily done through weekly home visits. In the meantime, the family coach provides resources and direction to placing parents, as well as facilitates the relationship between placing family and host family.
If you have further questions, or would like to sign-up to be a host family, please contact the church office at 260-627-2482.