Highlight: Providing safe families for children

Between homes where sporadic abuse creates havoc, child protective services, and the foster care system, thousands of kids are falling through the cracks. In the middle of these needs is a growing ministry called Safe Families for Children, providing support for children and their parents in times of crisis and chaos. David Anderson shares 3 main objectives of Safe Families for Children.

To prevent children from harm: Every child deserves a safe place to live.

David discusses the long term impact of abuse and the need for preventative solutions.

“Once a child is harmed in a physical or sexual way, many times their bodies can recover; it’s amazing how the Lord has created their little bodies to recover from a broken bone, etc.. But often the scars of the event are carried throughout their lives and it’s hard to let that go.

“If we can avoid that, if we can intervene before that, that’s a good thing.”

To avoid the foster care system.

The foster care system often creates a situation of removing a child from one vulnerable situation to another. David shares his personal experience of being a foster parent and common dilemmas of the foster care system.

“I used to be a foster parent and there are great foster parents. The system often gets a bad reputation; you hear about kids bouncing around from home to home, or the kids that age out of foster care, they’re the ones that end up getting into human trafficking, etc., so the foster care system often has its own trauma and dilemmas.”

This is a space where the church can take action to keep children out of the foster care system altogether by providing a safe haven for children and support for parents.

To support families in need.

“We just want to support families. They may not be at the brink of harming their kid, but they’re trying to raise their child by themselves and they have no one else to turn to. Things might go bad if you’re trying to do it by yourself; if you have these pressures on your life and that might result you to be short with your kid.”

“When my wife was gone for a week, I was home alone with my kids, and by the end of that week it was not a pretty sight. I could see the stresses of people who are trying to do this by themselves. These families just need that level of support – someone to come alongside of them.”

As the body of Christ, we have an opportunity to intervene by providing a safe environment for vulnerable children who are often overlooked in our society. David expresses his desire for the church to increase its support for vulnerable children,

“My dream is that the church will return to its rightful place, as a beacon of light for the most vulnerable group in our society. When people see kids that are in a vulnerable situation or family, they’ll first think of the church, ‘How can I get help from the church? That’s my goal.’

“The church will regain its voice in our society as really having a significant role in the fabric, safety and protection of the most vulnerable.”

David Anderson is the Executive Director of Lydia Home Association and Founder of Safe Families for Children to provide a safety net for parents in crisis. As a voluntary, non-coercive alternative to the child welfare system, Safe Families temporarily places children with loving families, freeing their parents to address issues such as unemployment, drug or alcohol rehabilitation, family violence, illness, or incarceration.

Vulnerable children and the church