Founded in Chicago in 2003, Safe Families for Children (Safe Families) is a volunteer movement that gives hope and support to families in distress. Located in 70 cities in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and other countries, Safe Families supports families during crises. We are motivated by compassion to keep children safe and out of foster care.
Safe Families hosts vulnerable children. We create extended-family–like supports for desperate families through a community of devoted volunteers who are motivated by faith to keep children safe and to reunite families.
Under current economic conditions, many families experience financial crisis, unemployment, and homelessness. Often these situations result in, or are made worse by, other hardships such as parental violence, drug or alcohol use, physical or mental illness, or incarceration.
In these situations, parents or guardians may be incapable of providing a safe and caring environment for their children, putting them at risk of abuse and neglect. In the past, extended family or neighbors stepped in to help families in crisis by caring for their children for short periods of time. Today, however, many families are socially isolated, and their extended family is nonexistent, or unavailable or unable to help.
Adding to the problem is the fact that most state child welfare agencies are required under law to rescue only those children who suffer blatant abuse or neglect, leaving thousands of children at risk.
Who Are We?
Safe Families volunteers are
- Host Families: Screened and approved by Safe Families, Host Families take in children for short periods of time.
- Family Friends: They provide support to placing families (e.g., mentoring and transportation) and Host Families (e.g., babysitting and providing meals).
- Resource Friends: They donate lightly used items such as beds, furniture, and clothing to help parents get back on their feet.
- Family Coaches: They are trained to provide resources and casework-like services to Placing Parents. They also ensure that kids are well cared for in Host-Family homes.
- Safe Families Plus Mentors: These volunteers support young adults aging out of foster care.
- Safe Families Churches: These are spiritual communities that support Safe Families as a ministry of their church. There are three church levels: Participating Church, Lead Church, and Community Lead Church.