EAST LANSING, Mich. — Safe Families for Children provides support to parents in crisis.
When they can't take care of their children because of hospitalizations, homelessness or other emergencies, the nonprofit organization steps in to provide care and safe homes for the kids.
“We want to create stability so we can help, and you can keep your children and stabilize them in housing and whatever your crisis is,” said Christine Lau, a Safe Families for Children coordinator.
A family's crisis could be anything.
“They’re concerned that their kids may be removed and put into foster care because they don’t have a way to stabilize their home," Lau said.
"What we do is we help by having those children hosted in a family that’s been approved."
The organization is part of of Bethany Christian Services. It was founded in 2003 and has more than 100 chapters across the country. The greater Lansing chapter has been around for less than two years.
Lau said last year they hosted children more than 15 times and the average stay for children is less than 30 days.
Host families go through a strict screening process where they get fingerprinted, background checked and receive training.
Sarah Pierce and her husband have been host parents for almost two months now. So far, they have had three different kids in their home. Pierce thinks the program is a brilliant idea.
"They kind of catch the problem before it becomes court-mandated like foster care," Pierce said. "They actually give the parent an opportunity to ask for help, get support, get stable and get their kids back.”
Pierce said host parents are prepared with training.
"You can get a range of kids who have been severely traumatized through their crisis or kids that this is a brand-new thing for them being in a new home,” Pierce said.
She's had an enriching experience and says the kids who have come into her home have brought joy into their lives.
“It was hard to say goodbye, but that’s the goal with this program. We know at the end that they’re going back with their family. That’s the ideal situation,” she said.
FOX 47 News spoke with a mother who was in a domestic violence situation and wants to remain anonymous. She used the services from Safe Families for Children in her time of need.
“My abuser charged me with a crime, and I had to leave the home with my daughter," she said.
Her situation caused her to relocate from Allen Park to Lansing. She says she belonged to a group called Moms over 40 with Children and one of the mothers suggested Safe Families for Children to her.
Although she chose not to leave her daughter with a host family, the mother says they still helped her in many other ways while she was searching for permanent housing.
“They found other ways to help me with rides because I had to leave my car behind. I didn’t have any transportation," she said. "With just talking, support, watching my daughter for an hour, and taking her to the park so I can just get my thoughts together.”
She says Safe Families for Children is a service that people should take advantage of.
"You're not weak for accepting help from other people right now. You're just struggling, and you need to get help on your feet," the mother said.
If you are a parent that would like more information on Safe Families for Children and their services you can click here.