safe families for children

When crisis strikes, many of us rely on relatives and friends for support. But for some parents, this is not an option which leaves them vulnerable. Safe Families for Children™ (SFFC) mobilizes a network of compassionate volunteers to circle around families in need. Host Family volunteers provide a safe, temporary home for children. This allows parents to focus on crisis situations, like homelessness, without worrying about losing parental custody. Family Friend and Family Coach volunteers provide an extra layer of support for both the Host Family and the parents receiving help. This Circle of Support provides the safety net many vulnerable families need to keep children out of the foster care system. Relationships formed through SFFC are long-term, so the next time crisis strikes, parents have someone to call!

The key components of SFFC™ are: 

Parents facing crisis situations maintain full custody of their children when they voluntarily place them in our care. Children stay with safe, loving, thoroughly screened volunteer families for an average of 6 weeks. 

Volunteers form a Circle of Support around families in need. While some volunteers host children, others provide mentoring, resources, and other help so that the parent can focus and achieve their goals, ultimately leading to the reunification of the family.

Churches play a central role. We engage the faith community to recruit and support volunteers, as well as to refer families in need. 

Community Partners are a critical part of the support network we wrap around families in crisis. From housing to mental health services and addiction treatment, SFFC’s community partners provide additional services needed to help families achieve long-term stability. 

To learn more about the Safe Families for Children movement, visit the national websiteTo get involved as a volunteer, email brenda@buildingfamiliesforchildren.org.

safe families for children

When crisis strikes, many of us rely on relatives and friends for support. But for some parents, this is not an option which leaves them vulnerable. Safe Families for Children™ (SFFC) mobilizes a network of compassionate volunteers to circle around families in need. Host Family volunteers provide a safe, temporary home for children. This allows parents to focus on crisis situations, like homelessness, without worrying about losing parental custody. Family Friend and Family Coach volunteers provide an extra layer of support for both the Host Family and the parents receiving help. This Circle of Support provides the safety net many vulnerable families need to keep children out of the foster care system. Relationships formed through SFFC are long-term, so the next time crisis strikes, parents have someone to call!

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The key components of SFFC are:

Parents facing crisis situations maintain full custody of their children when they voluntarily place them in our care. Children stay with safe, loving, thoroughly screened volunteer families for an average of 6 weeks. 

Volunteers form a Circle of Support around families in need. While some volunteers host children, others provide mentoring, resources, and other help so that the parent can focus and achieve their goals, ultimately leading to the reunification of the family.

Churches play a central role. We engage the faith community to recruit and support volunteers, as well as to refer families in need. 

Community Partners are a critical part of the support network we wrap around families in crisis. From housing to mental health services and addiction treatment, SFFC’s community partners provide additional services needed to help families achieve long-term stability.

Building Families for Children is the local implementer of Safe Families for Children™ in Maryland. To learn more about the Safe Families for Children movement, visit the national websiteTo get involved as a volunteer, email brenda@buildingfamiliesforchildren.org.

do you need assistance?

If you or someone you know is interested in having their children hosted through the Safe Families program please follow the process below. If you have any questions, please don’t hesistate to call us at 410-872-1050 or email safefamilies@buildingfamiliesforchildren.org. 

ABOUT THE PROCESS

The first step is to talk to one of our Family Support Coordinators by calling 410-872-1050 extension 1010. We will have you fill out some forms for you and your child and then a family support coordinator will contact you to discuss the situation and determine availability for assistance. If hosting is available, we’ll complete a few permission forms with you. Learn more about how Safe Families™ can help.

 

TESTIMONIALS

“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.”

Single Father, Supported by SFFC Volunteers

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, Women and Children’s Shelter in Carroll County

TESTIMONIALS

“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.”

Single Father, Supported by SFFC Volunteers

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, Women and Children’s Shelter in Carroll County

Become a Volunteer

Are you interested in learning more about becoming a Safe Families for Children volunteer? Without volunteers like you this program wouldn’t exist, and families in desperate need of community wouldn’t have a safety net. Email safefamilies@buildingfamiliesforchildren.org or call 410-872-1050 if you have any questions. You can learn more about each volunteer role in the drop down boxes below. 

Host Family

Online Application

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 and willing to engage in a long-term friendship with a family in need.

 

Family Friend

Online Application 

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

 

Family Coach

Online Application

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.

Questions?

Do you have a question about receiving help from Safe Famlies? Do you have questions about volunteering? Lets talk!