Safe Families For Children - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Safe Families For Children

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We have a special report on this week's Wednesday's Child. The term economic orphan was used during The Great Depression when families who could not afford to take care of their children sent them to live with relatives, church members or friends. But today many parents don't have a support system so where do they turn when they face traumatic times?

In 2008 when the economy bottomed out, for many it was a double blow with the loss of jobs, homes and in some cases their health. These situations are especially difficult when children are involved. Bethany Christian Services is starting a program called Safe Families For Children.

"Families being evicted from their apartment and they're planning to live in their car because they don't have anywhere else to go, then a family from the church will take their children and for a temporary period of time while the family gets back on their feet", Shannon Sullivan the Coordinator of SFFC explained.

Safe Families For Children started in three counties in January.. Hinds, Madison and Rankin. Churches are being recruited to provide the service as a ministry.

"There's definitely a heart in the local church to care for children", said Sullivan.

Karen Stewart is the Branch Director for Bethany Christian Services. She says volunteer host families will undergo an extensive screening process, and receive training. This is a video from the SFFC website. Parents who use this program are not giving up custody, this is not adoption or foster care. In fact it is a way to keep kids out of the system.

"As the church, as far as caring for children we need to rally around these folks and provide supplemental care to them", Stewart said.

Safe Families for Children has a proven track record. It began in 2002. Children stay with host families from a few days up to a year.

"The number one reason children are in need of a hosting is actually homelessness", said Sullivan.

"In churches they often get calls, they get these crisis calls at their own church that a family is in crisis, and they don't know what to do, or how to help them. And so this is a means to help those families", Stewart added.

Safe Families For Children provides host families for children newborn to 18 years old. To learn more call (601) 366-4282.

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