Safe Families Canada
Volunteers working to keep families together
What is “family preservation”? In a nutshell, family preservation is about finding ways for children not to need to leave their own biological families (or communities, cultures or even countries) due to poverty or other issues that could be alleviated with the right supports.
Within our own system here in Canada, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could prevent children from needing to enter the child welfare system in the first place? Safe Families Canada works to this end, giving a helping hand to at-risk families.
The Safe Families program originated in the US but is growing here in Canada as well. The premise behind Safe Families is that if families at risk for child welfare involvement could be helped by healthy Christian families at an early stage we could prevent children from entering into the system altogether.
Here is a description of the program from the Safe Families Canada website:
Safe Families Canada is a movement of compassion involving collaboration between area churches, volunteers and Christian organizations in order to support at-risk children and parents in need. Safe Families is an opportunity for volunteers to have a powerful impact in the lives of others through practicing Biblical hospitality and extending the love of Christ to people in need – all from their own home! Parents experiencing a temporary crisis can arrange for their children (newborn through 18 years old) to stay with Safe Families volunteers while they address the issues that led to the instability in their lives.
Volunteers open their homes to children whose parents are experiencing a short-term emergency, such as hospitalization, or a longer-term crisis, such as drug abuse. Designed to extend and strengthen the community safety net for at-risk families, Safe Families is a positive prevention program allowing parents to work out their problems without having to worry about losing custody of their children.
If this is a ministry that interests you or you think your church would be open to exploring it, I would encourage you to investigate the ministry’s website at Safefamiliescanada.com and perhaps arrange to have a conversation with the director.
While adoption will always need to be an option for some children in some circumstances and we praise God that this option exists, we would love to see a movement in Canada that reduces the children in the child welfare system from the front end instead of the back end. This could truly be a ministry that could help families who are not currently thriving to become healthier and safer places for their children to stay.