Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a child usually stay with a Host Family?

The average length of stay is about 6 weeks, but hosting arrangements usually last from 2 days to a year. Safe Families for Children (Safe Families) makes every effort to estimate the length of stay at the time of hosting.

What is the background of the children placed in a Safe Family?

These children sometimes come from very difficult circumstances. Each child will respond to the situation differently, depending on his or her personality and coping skills. Children placed by Safe Families are not believed to be victims of physical or sexual abuse; otherwise, they would be wards of the state and ineligible for this project.

Although traumatic, crisis can also offer an opportunity for positive personal and familial transformations. Children are accepted into Safe Families based on the availability of a Host Family. Some Host Families are able to accept sibling groups and parenting/pregnant teens.

What ages of children does the Safe Families outreach serve?

The children can be newborns through young adults (0–21 years). However, 70% of children we serve are less than 6 years of age.

What type of contact will the Host Family have with the biological parent or legal guardian?

Biological parents or legal guardians maintain full custody of their children and are encouraged to participate in decisions regarding their care. Our aim is to facilitate partnerships between volunteers and Placing Families to where the Host Family is regarded as extended family. We encourage the relationship to continue after the children return home.

Will a child in the Safe Families project typically have behavioral problems?

It’s impossible to predict how a child will respond to the instability from a family situation/crisis or to being in a new family setting. What is certain, however, is that providing needed, reliable, and caring support is always in a child’s best interest. In addition, if a child isn’t fitting in with a host family home and efforts to improve the situation are not successful, the host family has a right to ask that the child be removed.

Can the Host Family adopt the child?

Our goal is to reunite children with their biological family or legal guardian in a home that is more stable and healthy, thanks in part to Safe Families’ help. Currently, 93% of all Placing Families who turn to Safe Families for help eventually reunite with their children, often after creating the most stable environment they’ve ever known. However, if Placing Parents are considering not having their child returned to them, the family coach will refer them to an adoption resource to help them consider their options.