Safe Families for Children

Bloomington

Safety Net Helps Avoid Foster Care

Letter to the Editor

The Herald-Times

March 14, 2017

What do we do when we see a record number of children entering foster care? Naturally we seek more foster parents, but there is also a critical need to strengthen the safety net that prevents children from entering foster care.

That is why I am involved with Safe Families for Children (SFFC). SFFC deflects children from entering the child welfare system by providing extended family-like support during a crisis. Without the risk of losing custody, a parent can place their child with a screened and trained volunteer family until they get back on their feet.

When SFFC is an option in a community, more parents have the freedom to get the help they need including drug rehabilitation, mental health services, medical attention, and housing and job services, and less children are exposed to the effects of their parents not receiving these services. Children are kept safe and families are kept intact.

Safe Families is new in Bloomington and gaining momentum, but it is tried and true around the country. It has decreased the number of children entering foster care in Chicago by an estimated 50%. There is another way. Let’s intervene earlier.

Find out more about Bloomington SFFC at www.bloomington.safe-families.org.

Meghan Garcia