Bethany Christian Services Celebrates 10,000th Safe Family Hosting

October 09, 2019

10/10/2019— Today, Bethany Christian Services, a global nonprofit that supports children and families, announced that they surpassed 10,000 hostings through the Safe Families for Children program.

“We’re excited to hit this benchmark number, not because it’s a good metric, but because of all of the lives it represents,” said Bethany President and CEO, Chris Palusky. “That’s 10,000 meaningful, transformational community engagements across the U.S, 10,000 families that got on a path to wholeness, and more than 10,000 children kept out of the foster care system.”

Safe Families was founded in 2003 as a solution for parents and families experiencing a trauma like poverty, addiction recovery, homelessness, unemployment, and other circumstances that would make the family unit vulnerable. Safe Families acknowledges there must be a better way to do child welfare and recognizes the role social isolation plays in driving families into difficult situations.

“We love Safe Families because it engages the community to support the family,” said Julie Paine, National Director of Domestic Family Preservation Services at Bethany. “As connected as we are online, something we’re seeing today is that if a struggling family doesn’t live near relatives or have an avenue for connecting in-person with their community, a sudden upset in their lifestyle might completely upend their family. Safe Families helps make that community connection for families weathering trauma, so that the whole family can be loved and supported.”

When families are isolated in their community, they don’t have people to rely on and these situations might be detrimental to their family. Too often, kids are put into the foster care system unnecessarily when what’s really needed is some support while the parent or parents can get back on their feet. Through Bethany’s Safe Families for Children program, 97% of children return to their homes with their families.

The average stay of a child with a Host Family is just 30 days. But what makes this program unique, is that families commit to anywhere from two days to twelve months of support, helping see the family through to restoration even after the child returns to the care of their parents.

To mark the 10,000th hosting milestone, Bethany is rolling out a Family Preservation campaign in the month of October. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

Watch this video, where Chris Palusky and Julie Paine reflect on over 11 years of the Safe Families program and their perspectives on its impact around the nation.

• Can’t be a host family or don’t have a local Bethany branch? You can still get involved by donating a kid-sized “safe suitcase” to kids in the Safe Families program through Bethany. Many kids must transport their personal items with a trash bag, and your suitcase donation will not only demonstrate love and value to them, but also helps translate the empowering message that this is a short stay before they get to be reunited as a family.

• Celebrate Bethany’s first annual Family Preservation Day on October 10, 2019 by using the hashtags #FamiliesForFamilies and #NotAlone on social media and sharing a photo of your unique family!

• The keyways you can help kids in your community experiencing a family trauma is by signing up to be a host family or supporting a host family. It costs $1500 to recruit, train, and support volunteers to work with families in crisis and connect with community resources. To get involved by becoming a host family or supporting a host family, visitBethany.org.

About Bethany Bethany is a global nonprofit that supports children and families with world-class social services, all designed to help families thrive. Over 75 years ago, we began our work by serving a single child. Today, we work in more than 30 states and more than a dozen countries worldwide, serving more than 50,000 people every year.