Families Helping Families
When a crisis strikes, many of us rely on relatives and friends for support. But for some families, there is no safety net. Often, a straightforward problem such as postpartum depression or unemployment can be debilitating. Children in these situations often suffer neglect or abuse; some eventually are removed from their home and placed in state custody.
But now, thanks to an exciting program offered through Koinonia, parents experiencing a temporary crisis can arrange for their children to stay with a Christian family while they address the issues that led to their situation. The program, Safe Families, is fast becoming a national model for communities that want to expand their safety net for at-risk children.
Making A Difference
Safe Families volunteers can have a powerful impact in the lives of others while practicing biblical hospitality, extending the love of Christ to people in need, sharing their faith and connecting with those from another culture - all from their own home!
Since Safe Families began in Chicago in 2002, the program has helped people in a variety of situations, including:
• Parents facing eviction and homelessness
• A mother who couldn't find childcare when her sudden illness required surgery
• A pregnant teenager whose mother was homeless and father threw her out of his house
• And children whose mothers were undergoing drug rehabilitation
How Does Safe Families Work?
Koinonia caseworkers hear about families in crisis from a variety of referral sources, including schools, hospitals, social workers, churches and other Christian agencies. Our staff works quickly to contact an available volunteer family and share the situation with them. Volunteers agree to the placement at their own discretion, and can put a time limit on their involvement. The average length of stay is about six weeks, but can range from two days to a year.
Biological parents maintain full custody of their child, and are encouraged to participate in decisions regarding their child's care while they address whatever issues led to their crisis. For some, this could mean drug rehabilitation; for others, it might involve leaving an abusive relationship or finding steady employment.
Koinonia staff keep in touch with the parents, working closely with the referring organization to determine when and if the family can be reunited. Nationally, 85% of all families in the program come back together, often in the most stable environment they've ever known. In other cases the children are eventually placed with relatives or in foster care.
To learn more or volunteer please contact Shauna Buzunis-Jacob at 209-601-5548 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Safe Families volunteers include singles and married couples at every life stage, all of whom simply decided to make room in their hearts and homes for children in need.
Are you a family in need, or do you know a family in need? Click here