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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

In Their Own Words

We first learned about Safe Families For Children at our church. Following that Sunday morning worship service, we went home and promptly began an online search for any additional information we could gather about the program. Most powerful were the videos depicting real-life interviews and stories of host family experiences. We must have watched the story about the Hiveley family a dozen times. It was the relationship they developed with the young mom and her son that was so compelling and led us to begin the journey of becoming a host. While we knew not every hosting would result in a long-term relationship, we longed to have a similar experience in which we didn’t just fill a short-term need but one in which the relationship continued well past the time of crisis. It was important to us to not just fulfill a responsibility but to be in a family’s life long enough for them to feel cared for deeply.
In our eight months with Safe Families For Children, we have been a host to three families. We’re happy to say that one of those experiences did result in a relationship extending past the official hosting time. The “official responsibility” portion of the relationship lasted only one week and involved caring for a one-week-old infant while her mom took time to rest, recover, and care for her 2-year-old toddler. By the time the mom was ready to return to work, we had developed respect and admiration for this extremely hardworking young woman who was committed to doing all she could to earn a living. It was a joy to receive her calls, asking us to take care of her baby while she worked double shifts as a waitress at a 24-hour restaurant. A little lost sleep on our part was a small contribution compared to the sacrifices this mom has made to provide for her little family.
Being a host for Safe Families For Children isn’t easy. It’s hard work. It’s not convenient. It doesn’t always go as planned. It disrupts your everyday life. But, it’s worth every sleepless night and every extra load of laundry. It’s worth going out of your comfort zone and stretching yourself emotionally and spiritually. All you need to do is make a little room in your life, in your home, and in your heart. Whether it’s a short-term or long-term relationship, you are caring deeply for people who need to be deeply cared for.

Watch the video that inspires families to get involved

Beautiful testimonies from host families and a parent about their experience with Safe Families for Children in Long Beach, CA

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.