Families Helping Families In Crisis
Our church is part of the Safe Families for Children™ (SFFC) national movement of compassion that gives hope to families in crisis. This network of volunteer host families and family friends help parents who need to temporarily place their children out of their care, due to unmanageable or critical circumstances. SFFC returns the Church to the forefront of helping families in need. Family Heritage Church has partnered with Olive Crest to offer this as a ministry of our church and a way to serve our community.
Safe Families for Children is not Foster Care or Adoption
Safe Families for Children is an alternative to foster care. In foster care, children are placed into homes through the courts and foster families receive compensation for their care. Through SFFC, host families receive no compensation for caring for children, and parents voluntarily place their children with them. The goal of the SFFC ministry is to offer support in a time of need and reunite children with their families in a stronger home environment. This temporary care for children in need gives parents time to establish stability in their homes.
Parents Remain Involved
Parents are actively involved in their children’s lives and will develop a relationship with the host family. Because Safe Families for Children is not foster care, the children are not placed in the care of the State. Olive Crest and our church work with the parents during this transition to identify steps to regain stability and be reunited with their children quickly and safely.
Parents voluntarily place their children with a host family because of any number of challenges they are facing, such as:
- Sudden unemployment or loss of housing
- Financial difficulties
- Postpartum depression
- Acute illness or hospitalization
- Financial instability
- Domestic violence
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Incarceration of one parent
Ways To Get Involved
Can you open your home to a family going through a troubled time? Or support those who do? Here are ways to reach out with God’s love and compassion to embrace those who need help in your community.
Be A Family Friend or Resource Friend – Support those families, in our church, who are hosting children in their homes, as well as opportunities to help the families who are utilizing SFFC to diffuse crisis in their lives.
Be a Host Family
If you are looking for a truly rewarding experience, consider becoming a Safe Families for Children (Safe Families) Host Family. You will make a lasting impression on a child in need and possibly change the trajectory of a family.
You must be at least 25 years old, emotionally and financially stable, mature, law abiding, healthy, and active. You also must be willing to engage in a long-term friendship with a family in need, agree to not use drugs, and refrain from using profanity or engaging in other negative behavior that may impact a child.
Open your home and nurture a child; follow these simple steps to become an approved Safe Families Host Family:
- Fill out an application. You may find some of our questions quite personal, but it is important that we get to know you as well as possible. We need to make sure that all Safe Families volunteers are well equipped to handle their responsibilities.
- Expect a home visit. When we receive your completed application, we will contact you to arrange a home visit. The visit will allow us to get to know you and your family and to walk through your home.
- Complete our training. All Safe Families Host Families are required to complete the Safe Family training. This can be done online or in person in your community.
- Expect a background check. Depending on the state in which you live, you will need to be fingerprinted or provide information so that criminal and child-abuse background checks can be conducted.
- Submit three references. You will need to provide us with contact information or reference letters from three people (non-family members) know you well.
After this five-step process is complete, Olive Crest will contact you when a child needs help.
Be a Family Friend
When you volunteer as a Family Friend, Safe Families for Children (Safe Families) will connect you with an at-risk family that would benefit from a healthy support system, but Family Friends can also support Host Families by providing meals, respite care, transportation, etc…”
Family Friends encourage and strengthen families in crisis so that they may thrive. Performing small tasks, such as dropping off diapers or babysitting for a few hours, provides families with support and builds relationships.
As a Family Friend, you will
- provide friendship and encouragement
- share helpful information about parenting and life
- support parents who have children staying with Host Families
- advocate for families seeking resources for their children, such as schools or mental and physical health services.
Be a Resource Friend
Resource Friends assist Host Families and Placing Parents with goods and services they may need. Resource Friends provide gently used equipment, children’s furniture and clothes, they can also donate their professional services when needed, especially if they are healthcare providers, day care providers, barbers or stylists.
Resource Friends can help Host Families and Placing Parents in many ways.