Safe Families Cleveland

A Growing Circle of Support

Struggling. Feeling alone. Afraid to leave her home. On the brink of a mental crisis.

And all in the middle of a pandemic.

Desperately trying to hold her mental health together on her own, but still recognizing her own needs, Jada* bravely reached out for support. With the help of her healthcare providers, Jada realized she needed to find dedicated time to focus on her own mental health when the pressures of COVID struck last spring. But she wondered … as a single mom of two girls, was getting the psychological treatment she truly needed even possible?

That’s when Safe Families for Children host mom Carrie* stepped in. Carrie’s family had only been recently trained, background-checked, and approved, but they were up for the challenge when the host opportunity arrived.

Jada was able to enter a flexible but crucial outpatient program to address her mental health, and her tween daughters received care and loving support for their needs from Carrie, her husband and their four kids. And while both Carrie and her husband were both working, their circle of support grew and grew.

According to Alana Dennis, director of Cleveland’s Safe Families chapter, the circle of support in this instance is what made the hosting possible in the first place. Alana noted that their church “is on fire” for Safe Families, so with the guidance of their Family Coach and pastor — and practical assistance from other families within their church — Carrie and her family helped Jada eventually reunite with her daughters.

Since their initial relationship began, what’s developed since is a beautiful extended family-like relationship. Carrie still texts in a group text, and her family has been invited to other family birthday parties. Jada has come to value Carrie as a rare find, a true friend — and even shared how grateful she is that Carrie would want someone to call her just that: a friend.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can make a lasting difference by hosting a child for a family in crisis, or other practical ways to support a family like Jada’s, we’d love to have a conversation with you.

When you get involved, Safe Families for Children connects you with an at-risk family that could benefit from a healthy support system. And Family Friends can also support Host Families by providing meals, respite care, transportation, etc. Find out more about ways you can help families stay connected, here.

Because Carrie said “yes,” Jada’s family is together again.

* Names of individuals involved have been changed for this story to protect their privacy.