Friday, August 12, 2011

What's next for Foster Care and our Family?

You've heard our exciting news... we are having another baby, due in March. Some of you may be wondering what happened to wanting to do foster care??? Well we are still very much involved and wanting to help children in need.

Before we got pregnant we were approached by our foster care agency about a new (or new to our area) program called Safe Families. It's a program that helps families in crisis. They help families before CPS needs to get involved. An example may be a mom that needs to go to rehab but has no support system to help with her kids while she is in the program. Safe Families can help that mom find a safe family home that would be willing to take her kids while she was getting the help she needs.

For now this program seems to be a perfect fit for our family. The average length of care needed is 6 weeks. We need something short term. I like it because its a program that also supports the parents. They are working with parents that want to do better for their family but just need help.

The biggest hurdle we are facing at the time is getting started. In order to be a part of Safe Families you need to go to a church that has a Safe Families ministry. There are non in the central valley, but hopefully that will change soon.

The director of the private foster care agency we have been going through is trying to get Safe Families in our area. He has quite a few churches going through training in the Sacramento area. All it takes is a few families in the church that want to help. There are different roles that need to be covered. Here are the roles from what I know so far.

Host Families: Families willing to take in children. Requires training and fingerprinting.

Family Coach: Requires training (and I think finger printing). Helps the host families by supporting them. Works on building relationships with parents and getting them involved so when they are ready to have their children back they will continue to have a support system.

Family Friends: Requires no training but will be given a guide on how to help. Their roll is to simply encourage the host families and help them when needed. Being involved in such an awesome church with great people we already have this. We would just need some of those families to become official "family friends".

Another cool thing, Merced County knows Koinonia is trying to bring this program to Merced and they are all for it! They know that if parents can get help before they have to intervene it can be a huge help to everyone.

So if you go to FBC Merced and this sounds interesting to you let me know! In order to make this work we need at least one family in every role that wants to help. disclaimer: we are pending elder board approval to get this ministry going, but we know if it's God's will for our church to take this on it wont be a problem. Once (or maybe I should say if) the Elders say we can go for it we will announce a meeting that will give more info on the program. It usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks to have a Safe Families program up and running so hopefully we can do that soon. We have already been approached about a family that will need our help from December-March. I really hope we can make a difference to this mom and be ready to help her in her time of crisis.

If you don't go to FBC Merced but still want to get involved, look on the the Safe Families website to see if there is a church in your area that does Safe Families.

Here is the website.

So what if FBC Merced isn't willing to take on the Safe Families ministry? Then I think our next step will be to try and do emergency foster care. Again short term. Our agency is currently trying to see if Merced is need of emergency foster care homes.

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