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What is Safe Families for Children?

When a crisis strikes, many of us rely on relatives and friends for support. But for some families, poverty and social isolation mean that they have no support when needed. Often, a straightforward problem such as postpartum depression or unemployment can be debilitating. Children in these situations often suffer neglect or abuse; some eventually placed in state custody. Safe Families for Children provides a chance for parents to get back on their feet and to be connected with a community of support.

Lifeline Children’s Services of Kansas, in collaboration with local churches and volunteers, empowers and equips families and individuals to provide relationships and hope when families face a temporary crisis. This ministry of caring for children of these families will help reduce abuse, neglect, and the need for foster care. 

Through Safe Families for Children (SFFC), parents can arrange for their children to stay with a pre-screened family while they focus on resolving crisis situations and work to bring stability back to their home.

The program is designed to extend and strengthen the community safety net for at-risk families. SFFC is a positive alternative to the state welfare system, giving parents freedom to work through their problems without the worry of losing child custody. SFFC is fast becoming a national model for communities that want to expand their care of at-risk children.

How Does Safe Families for Children Work?

SFFC Specialists enlist local churches and volunteers to become host families. Specialists meet, screen, and train host families who are prepared to open their homes to a child/children when the need arises. Specialists coordinate the arrangement between the host family and the child’s family based on time frame, needs, and location. SFFC Specialists facilitate the transfer of care for children between families.

On-going support , training, and interaction is provided to the parents, host families, and local churches as they help to empower families to create a stable environment and home.

Safe Families for Children Distinctives 

  • Parents voluntarily place their children with SFFC and retain full legal custody.
  • Parents maintain contact and interaction with their child/children throughout placement.
  • Host families are motivated by their care and concern, not financial compensation.
  • Any child, any reason

Together, SFFC and referring organizations work with parents to determine when the family will be reunited. The length of a child’s stay can be as short as a couple of days or up to 30 days maximum. Nationally, 94% of all the families come back together with their original or extended families, often in the most stable environment they have ever known.

How You Can Help

Safe Family volunteers can have a powerful impact in the lives of others while being transformed themselves by practicing Biblical hospitality and extending the love of Christ to people in need. There are a variety of ways to participate in your area:

Host Family – Host families are volunteers who practice Biblical hospitality by opening their homes to children while their parents resolve short-term crises.

Family Friend – Family Friends are volunteer mentors who come alongside parents to support them in making necessary changes to their lives. Family Friends help to support and empower parents who seek the support of SFFC.

Resource Friends – Resource Friends provide assistance to parents, host families, and other volunteers through a variety of services they can offer. These services could include, but are not limited to the following: baby-sitting, transportation, lawn care, home maintenance, medical, dental or mental health care, barbers, teacher or tutors, and financial counseling. Donations of other supplies and items are also available, for example, diapers, formula, gently used children’s clothes or equipment.

Support for Existing Situations – If a relative or friend is already caring for a child and is in need of support, Safe Families welcomes them into our vibrant volunteer network by making home support visits, inviting them to community groups and giving them access to physical resources in order to strengthen them as they provide a stable environment for a child.

YouShare.org – YouShare.org is an online outlet for giving that connects the specific needs of local families with the resources and talents of others within their community.

Questions? Want to become involved with Safe Families for Children in Kansas?

Please call our Kansas state office at 785-783-4577 or email angela.beemer@lifelinechild.org.

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