Safe Families for Children is to celebrate its official launch on the South Coast on 8 October, with a special Commissioning Service.
In partnership with local authorities across the UK, Safe Families seeks to reduce the flow of children going into the care. Its new partnership with Southampton City Council will see the charity taking referrals to provide innovative, early intervention support to families, preventing problems from escalating and children entering the care system.
The charity already works in partnership with 20 local authority children’s services departments and hundreds of churches across England. It recruits and trains volunteers across the country who provide support for struggling families, in a ‘people helping people’ approach.
Safe Families for Children is officially celebrating its South Coast launch with a Commissioning Service at Highfield Church at 19:30 on October 8, 2016. Church leaders, dignitaries and supporters from across the region will join together to hear the story of Safe Families, as told by Sir Peter Vardy, who brought it to the UK from Chicago. The event is open to the public and all interested parties are encouraged to attend.
Keith Danby, Chief Executive of Safe Families for Children, said: “We are delighted to be expanding firstly into the Solent, and then along the South Coast and we look forward to seeing increasing numbers of children and families staying together in safer, happier home environments. We are very grateful for the support we have already received from Bishop Jonathan, the ‘Love Southampton’ churches network and voluntary networks in Southampton and we look forward to working with Southampton City Council to support vulnerable families in the area.”
Bishop Jonathan, Bishop of Southampton, said: “Safe Families for Children will transform the lives of children and empower families. Volunteers have come forward from the churches, and from our friends in the faith communities of the city – their contribution will make a huge difference.”
In just three years since it was founded in the UK, Safe Families has already supported more than 2000 children with a network of over 2700 volunteers nationwide. Safe Families’ community-based solution to a community-based problem links volunteers with struggling families, allowing neighbourly volunteers to step in at the outset of any issues in families’ lives before they escalate and cause lasting, sometimes irreparable, damage.
Safe Families volunteers can have three different roles: Host Families, who provide safe accommodation for children for up to two weeks; Family Friends, who offer mentoring support to parents struggling through difficult times; and Resource Friends, who provide goods and services families might need. Through befriending, mentoring, the provision of respite care and resources, volunteers provide a lifeline for many families.
By providing support to struggling families before their problems have reached a crisis, Safe Families is able to support hundreds of children across the country, helping them to remain at home with their parents.