Safe Families for Children makes a differenceDr. Stanley Watson, Syndicated columnist
The Picayune Item
PICAYUNE — I recently heard about a new program that is bound to be a godsend for families in trouble. Social worker Lynne Sabin gave this example of a family caught in a short term crisis:
Picture a dad with a wife, two kids under 5, and a minimum wage job that is barely meeting their needs, but dad is hanging in there and working hard. Now picture the mom with acute appendicitis and needing surgery... While mom is in the hospital, who is caring for the kids? There is no extended family and no other support system, so the only alternative is for dad to miss work to care for the children ... until now! Mississippi's new Safe Families for Children movement offers parents a safe, temporary place for their child without losing custody.
Lynne went on to tell how Safe Families For Children is currently enlisting volunteers through the churches to help families in crisis. It is not foster care; there is no government involvement and no family court making decisions about custody. This movement is set up to keep families together and out of the nation's child protection systems.
In other words, Safe Families for Children in South Mississippi matches those who volunteer to take the children into their homes with families who are in a crisis situation and need their help.
Lynne Sabin's job is to recruit and train the Host Families; she also enlists and trains Family Friends, Resource Families and Mentors. All of this is volunteer and without pay:
·Host Families invite children from a family in crisis to come live with them while their parents work through their difficulties. Host families provide for the children's needs and incorporate them into every aspect of their lives such as carpooling, play dates, church activities and sports events. Of course host families must be willing to accept criminal background checks, references and home visits.
·Family Friends provide Host Families with assistance with carpooling, respite care, friendship and support. They must also submit to background checks.
·Resource Families offer goods and services to children in Safe Family care. This could include money for the movement, bringing food to the Host Family, or doctors and dentists who contribute their services.
·Mentors come alongside the birth parents to provide friendship, encouragement and support.
This ministry returns the church to the forefront of caring for families in trouble and Safe Families succeeds only when it is embraced and adopted by local churches. In fact it has become a successful alternative to the state child welfare system.
When Lynne began to describe this program it must have sounded familiar to the old timers who remember when Christian folks, without calling on the government or expecting payment, went out of their way to help families in trouble. My parents often took in boys who needed a place to stay; (never girls because the guests had to share limited space with me and my two brothers.)
Among the several boys who passed through our home, I remember two in particular. One was a huge 14-year-old that Dad picked up off the street one chilly Saturday evening. Bruce had on an old, torn sheep skin coat but was barefooted. Dad bought him a cheap pair of work shoes and the store owner donated a pair of work pants. Bruce even went to church with us on Sunday morning wearing one of Dad's dress shirts and his new pants and shoes.
He got a lot of attention during the congregational singing. Never having been in church before, he did not know the songs but knew how to whistle-not an ordinary whistle but the loud kind where you place your upper teeth over your lower lip and let fly. Everybody turned to stare and frown when he overwhelmed the combined efforts of the congregation including the pianist. Dad grabbed him by the shoulder and whispered into his ear until he got him bulldogged and under control. When Bro. McClung got up to preach he never mentioned it-just pretended it never happened.
Another boy was a dark haired, dark complexioned kid named Billy. He was friendly and obedient. My only problem with him was that he had some sort of a sinus or adenoid defect that caused him to constantly clear his throat, snort, and generally express his discomfort. At night he snored. Billy was placed in the home of a childless couple-a minister and his wife-and became a radio announcer when he grew up. He must have found a cure for his condition.
I'm sure my folks made a great contribution to the lives of the boys who passed through our home and I am also sure they could have done better and done more if Safe Families had been there to support and guide them. Now, if your family should volunteer to care for children from families in crisis you can expect some new and interesting experiences and God will smile with you.
Editor's note: If you are interested in this ministry you may contact Lynne Sabin at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Safe Families for Children website at www.safe-families.org.
Our Grand Children are victims of;
In 1696, England first used the legal principle of parens patriae, which gave the royal crown care of "charities, infants, idiots, and lunatics returned to the chancery." This principal of parens patriae has been identified as the statutory basis for U.S. governmental intervention in families' child rearing practices.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
— Preamble of the original "organic" Constitution
"We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
— Excerpted from the Declaration of Independence of the original thirteen united states of America, July 4, 1776