FAMILY STABILITY SERVICES
Building Families for Children is the local implementer of Safe Families for Children™ in Maryland.
When crisis strikes, many of us rely on relatives and our church family for support, but for some parents there isn’t a safety net. Building Families for Children implements Safe Families for Children™, a national movement, to address this. Volunteer families, prompted solely by compassion, build relationships with at-risk families and provide crucial support allowing them to deal with crisis situations. Central to Safe Families for Children™ support is the Host Family. These volunteers show biblical hospitality through child hosting; they open up their home and temporarily care for children, giving parents the time and space they need work out their problems without having to worry about losing parental custody. Other family support roles include a Family Coach who offers their experience to help families make the necessary changes and also supports volunteers in providing care, and a Resource Friend who shares time, talent, or treasure. Last but not least, a volunteer Family Friend is someone who befriends, mentors, and supports parents through their crisis to help them get back on their feet.
Steps to Take
If you’re interested in having your child(ren) hosted through the Safe Families program, please follow these steps…
1. Talk to one of our Family Support Coordinators by calling 800-621-8834 extension 1010. Explain your needs & ask any questions you have about the program
2. Fill out the info forms for you and your child
3. Submit the forms by… Scanning and emailing them to: email@example.com Faxing them to: 410-872-1047 Or Mailing them to: 7161 Columbia Gateway Drive Suite A, Columbia MD, 21046
4. A Family Support Coordinator will contact you to discuss your situation and determine availability for assistance
5. If hosting assistance is available we will complete the permission forms with you. To view the forms see below.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org OR visit the Safe Families website (www.safe-families.org)
Safe Families is a blessing. I tell mothers that they aren’t giving up their child. I tell them what they are doing is letting a trained caregiver care for their child while they pull themselves together. I’ve seen it happen. Safe Families works.Dorita Dorm
“I do it because I have been a single mom, and understand what it is like to suddenly be hit with a situation that you have no control over,” Sheryl said. “My husband died 14 years ago. It’s only because of my family and the church that we were able to pull through. We all need a safety net.”Sheryl Meyer
I was a man in the dark who had to watch his family live without real help and real people who cared. Safe Families stepped into our dark place and pulled our family into the light. You showed us love and peace. You gave us hope. You did not judge us. With the help of faithful and loving volunteers, you opened your homes to us and took us in with loving arms. Thank you.Father
Become a Volunteer
If you are looking for a truly rewarding and challenging experience, consider becoming a Safe Families Host Family. You will make a lasting impression on a child in need and possibly change the trajectory of a family in crisis. Host Families serve as the backbone of the Safe Families movement. Without families opening their homes and opening their hearts, we could not care for vulnerable children in our communities.
To be a Host 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.
When you volunteer as a Family Friend, Safe Families for Children will connect you with an at-risk family that would benefit from a healthy support system. And 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
You can play a vital role in Safe Families for Children by volunteering as a Family Coach to help parents in crisis get back on their feet. As a Family Coach, you will:
- Support the Host Family. This ensures that families get the support and resources they need to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children.
- Monitor children’s safety. Because safety is a top priority, the Family Coach begins assessing safety within 48 hours of a child moving in with the Host Family—and each week for at least a month.
- Provide a family in need with resources, such as community referrals and assistance in making their appointments.
- Facilitate the relationship between the Host Family and the Family in need with compassion and empathy.
You will also:
- Listen to Host Families and Families in need. The Family Coach provides space for them to express their thoughts and concerns.
- Manage expectations. For example, the Host Family may feel that they must fix problems or situations that are not their responsibility. Alternately, if a hosting arrangement seems longer than expected, the Family Coach is needed to temper expectations.
- Show empathy, hope, grace, and compassion. We work hard to err on the side of grace.
- Problem solve. Family Coaches work with the church and other community resources to assist Families in need.
- Reassure. Stressful situations require a calm presence and the ability to give hope to those who may feel hopeless.