WSIL—Area churches are looking for volunteers for a new program. Their mission is to find temporary homes for children in crisis situations.
The Safe Families for Children program matches people in safe homes with children in need, whether those children’s parents are homeless, sick, or in a position where they just can’t take care of their kids.
The push to bring it to southern Illinois began at the start of the year. Six months in, a few families have already registered, but organizers are looking for more.
“Most of us in a time of crisis, we have supportive family or friends or even our local church that will step in and help. These families don’t have that,” says Coordinator Andrea Biggerstaff.
The Baptist Children’s Home in Carmi is managing the program to reach out to those parents. Biggerstaff says they also need people with safe homes to volunteer to help those children. She says she’s been fortunate and had help during tough times. The program is made for those without a support system to fall back on.
“I can’t imagine as a mother, not having that or being worried that if I needed help myself, what would happen to my children or where would my children go,” explains Biggerstaff.
The First Baptist Church in Marion is the homebase for the initiative. Church member Jerry Ford is running their operation.
“We want to keep the children safe. Not as foster parents, but as host families. Working with the biological parents to provide a safe environment for the children,” said Ford.
Parents also have the chance for help. Depending on the circumstances, job and financial training are offered. Host families will go through background checks, finger printing, and training before they begin. Ford says during that time, the biological parents will be able to keep contact.
“We have host families that can take your children, you can visit them everyday, call everyday, but they will provide everything for your children,” says Ford.
The First Baptist Church in Marion is hosting informational and training session on July 8. For more information contact the Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services, (618) 382-4165 ext 208.
Source: WSIL TV Station
Date: June 18, 2012