no, i'm not pregnant. shame on you for even thinking it! i've alluded for several months now about a "career change" of sorts. i haven't been ready to announce it here but the time has come! before i dive in, i need to give a tiny bit of background info...
long, long ago, before i became a professional bottom wiper, i was a social worker. i worked specifically in the foster care system as a case manager. while i loved that field and the people i worked with, i left it somewhat discouraged. quite honestly, the foster care system is deeply flawed. and it is bad for families. the average reunification rate of children and their families is very low. the problem? taking children from people who are unable to effectively cope with their lives, giving them a list of changes to make and leaving them on their own to make them does not work. sadly, many families today do not have the support system nor the coping skills to repair their family on their own. add to the mix an underfunded system, overworked case managers and damaged children and it is a recipe for disaster. this is where i am honored to introduce Safe Families.
Safe Families is a nonprofit ministry who's goal is to help families in crisis retain custody of their children and get back on their feet. families are given the support and resources to raise their children and be successful again. here's how it works: families are referred who are in some form of crisis by other ministries and social services agencies. (not families where abuse is occurring, that is a legal issue) so families who may be dealing with homelessness, addiction, unemployment, medical crisis, etc. these are families on the brink of losing their children. they are one step away from having an open social services case. SF would do several things for them. the first is to offer respite care for their children, while they retain legal custody. they would not lose custody of their children. they would allow our host family (very similar to a foster parent) to care for their children while they are getting on their feet. we would help them make a plan to address the issues they are facing and the host family would mentor them towards being reunified with their children. did you catch that? the people caring for their children will be their mentor. and on top of that? the host families receive no compensation. they are doing it for free. there is no corruption of families simply "doing it for the paycheck". they're not getting one. their only benefit is helping another family be whole again. when those goals have been met, the kids go home. the average placement is 45 days. 45 DAYS. that is a drop in the bucket in comparison to foster care. as opposed to years of children being shuffled from home to home. can you see why i'm so excited? in addition to the obvious benefit to these families, there is an added bonus. taking these families out of the social service system frees up resources, funds and workers to focus on the families that truly need it. cases of severe neglect and abuse. imagine if your local children's services could spend all of their time and money on the worst of the worst? if they could soak those resources on kids who desperately needed them? how would that change things?
obviously i am excited and passionate about this topic. i could spend all day sharing statistics and stories and testimonies of lives changed. i won't do that. but i will ask for your prayers. this is a huge undertaking. i will be opening the first Safe Families branch in Ohio. i have a lot to do! pray for me as i make important decisions. as i juggle my family life and my career. that the right people will be added to my team!
if you are interested in learning more about Safe Families or if you simply have a desire to be a prayer partner, please join me tomorrow night (Wednesday May 23rd) at the Springfield House of Prayer at 7:30! i would love to tell you more!