Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ways to Help Orphans Without Adopting #3: Safe Families

Welcome to the third post in the series, Ways to Help Orphans Without Adopting. If you have ever thought, "Our family isn't able to adopt family. We still want to fulfill James 1:27.  How can we care for the need of orphans?" then this series of post is perfect for you! I know that not every family can or should adopt. I would love to suggest some ways you can support orphans. This week I want to tell you about Safe Families for Children.

"What Is Safe Families for Children?"

"Safe Families for Children is a collaboration among area churches, volunteers and agencies designed to support at-risk children and parents in need. It is an opportunity for volunteers to have a powerful impact on the lives of others while practicing Biblical hospitality and extending the love of Christ to people in need – all from their own home! Safe Families is a movement of compassion designed to reduce child abuse and neglect and return the church to the forefront of caring for families in crises."

"Who does Safe Families for Children Help?"

"Sadly, with the changing economy, many families are experiencing financial problems, unemployment or homelessness. Others are dealing with domestic violence, parental drug or alcohol abuse, illness or incarceration. During such crises, many of these parents are not able to provide a safe and caring environment for their children.
"Historically, extended family, neighbors and the church would step in to support the family. Today, however, many families are socially isolated and their extended family is not available. The children in a family traumatized by crisis have an increased risk for abuse and neglect as their parents struggle to cope with the crisis at hand and the emotions associated with it. That’s where Safe Families for Children steps in."

"How Does Safe Families Work?"

"Parents experiencing a temporary crisis can arrange for their children (newborn through 18 years old) to stay with Safe Families volunteers while they address the issues that led to the instability in their home. Children are matched with families in their own community whenever possible and the average length of stay is forty days. The goal is to reunite children with their biological parent(s) in a home that is more stable and healthy, in part because of the contribution of the Safe Families intervention.
Volunteer host families, serving out of compassion, open their homes to these children in crisis. The volunteers are screened, trained and serve without compensation. Host families are supported, educated and regularly visited to ensure the experience is successful for everyone involved."

"What About the Parents?"

"The biological parents maintain custody during the placement and we encourage them to be actively involved in their children’s lives, as well as, develop a relationship with the host family. Safe Families caseworkers keep in close contact with the parents in planning for a healthy reunification of the family. Positive family reunification is our number one priority, and through Safe Families for Children, an overwhelming 90% of children have been returned to their parents."

(All above information quoted from: http://orphancarealliance.org/become-a-safe-family/faq/)

To learn more about how you can become a Safe Family for Children, go here.

"How Can the Church Get Involved?"

"The Safe Families for Children outreach can only be successful when it is embraced and adopted by the local church. Churches of all sizes are necessary to provide for vulnerable children within our community."
Option 1: You church can be a Safe Families Promoter.

This churches can provide marketing materials for Safe Families during a service, show a Safe Families video during a church service, and provide an information table and sign up opportunities for congregants interested in getting involved

Option 2: Your church can be a Safe Families Minister.

In addition promoting Safe Families for Children, it is designated as one of your church's local outreach ministries or a new ministry for Safe Families for Children is added. Ministry activities might include: identifying and supporting Safe Families in your church; offering support services to Safe Families within your church such as: babysitting, transportation assistance, physicians, dentists, etc.; developing a resource closet for Safe Families stocked with diapers, formula, car seats, high chairs, etc.; and provide volunteer case coaches (2-5 hours per placement per week).

Option 3: Your church can be a Safe Families Multiplier. 

In addition to the roles of Promoter and Minister, this church: offers services to other churches that are part of Safe Families; may recruit and employ professionals to carry out key functions; provide administrative support; offer resources to host families, birth parents and their children. Examples of possible services this church might offer include parenting classes; professional medical, counseling, or legal services; parent supports groups; housing; life skills training; etc..

(source: http://www.safe-families.org/join_church.aspx)

To learn about how your church can become a Safe Church, go here.

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