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Families Helping Families in Crisis


Safe Families for Children™ (SFFC) is a national movement of compassion that gives hope to families in crisis. This network of volunteer host families help parents who need temporary care for their children as they work through unmanageable or critical circumstances.

Bethany Christian Services mission is to protect and enhance the lives of vulnerable children and families. Safe Families for Children is an innovative approach that can accomplish this mission. Because of this, Bethany Christian Services partnered with the Safe Families for Children program after being approached by its founder, Dr. David Anderson of Lydia Home Association in Chicago. Dr. Anderson approached Bethany due to our size and scope as an organization with a solid reputation in social services across the USA and globe.

How this program is different than 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 have their children stay 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. 

Because Safe Families for Children is not foster care, the children are not placed in the care of the State. Bethany staff work with the parents during this transition to identify steps to regain stability and reunite with their children quickly and safely. Parents may have their children live with a host family because of any number of challenges such as: 

  • Financial difficulties

  • Postpartum depression

  • Acute illness or hospitalization

  • Financial instability

  • Acute illness or hospitalization
  • Financial instability

  • Domestic violence

  • Domestic violence

  • Drug or alcohol addiction

  • Incarceration of one parent

Mercy House

Members at a local Safe Families for Children partner church purchased an abandoned, dilapidated house previously occupied by the homeless. Instead of flipping the house to sell or rent for profit, the family sensed God prompting them to use the house for ministry. Mercy Hill Church and community members worked hard over the past year, renovating Mercy House to make it a warm, inviting, temporary place to call home. Upon its completion, the home will have the capacity to house single mothers whose children are being hosted through the SFFC ministry. The church will also provide Family Friends who will support, encourage, and disciple to mothers we serve during their time in the home. The women will have the opportunity to grow in the areas of financial management, parenting, planning for and preparing healthy meals, and other essential life-skills. 

We’re excited for an affordable transitional housing option opportunity and the friendship and discipleship component it brings. Community businesses have also offered their support, for which we are thankful. In addition, a structural foundation group heard about the housing project and generously donated $12,000 worth of work to ensure that the house is structurally sound and solid! A furniture store saw a segment about Mercy House on the local news and offered to fully furnish the house with beautiful, quality furniture.

While we are a relatively small SFFC chapter, God’s grace is evident as we see continued, sustainable growth of Safe Families in Memphis. We are excited to see how this home will be used to strengthen families and ultimately bring God glory!

Ways to Get Involved 

Can you open your home to a family going through a troubled time? Reach out with God’s love and compassion to embrace those who need help in your community. 

Be A Host Family

Safe Families Host Family Spotlight

Open your home to nurture a child in need as an alternative to foster care.

Be A Safe Family Friend

Safe Families Family Friend Spotlight

Volunteer your time and resources to further the Safe Families for Children cause. 

Be A Safe Family Church

Safe Families Church Spotlight

Integrate Safe Families for Children with your ministry and share SFFC with your congregation.