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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    "Safe Families" networks/alternative to foster care

    I have to say that I'd only heard an inkling of this idea before today. I see a lot more work has been done on this idea and it is currently being proposed as a Senate Bill. I'm intrigued but cautious. I'd love to hear from anyone who's had any experience with this program in other states.

    We need innovation. We need progress. We need to think outside of the box as the box is not working. I promise to keep an eye on this and report back.


    Oregon Senate considers Safe Families networks as alternative to state foster care

    "Senate bill 991 would allow churches and other private organizations to sponsor Safe Families networks.

    These networks operate like informal foster care, using volunteers willing to help overstressed parents by taking in their children for a few days, a few months, or even a few years.

    The idea is to give parents a timeout so they can take care of problems with housing, drugs, jobs or other areas. The goal is to prevent the situation from deteriorating to the point that kids suffer neglect or abuse and child welfare authorities are forced to step in.

    Safe Families networks exist in 11 other states. Oregon children's advocates say they're intrigued because this state struggles with a high number of children in foster care. Last year, 13,291 Oregon children spent at least one day in foster care. The state's placement rate consistently remains more than 10 children per 1,000 -- almost twice the national rate."

    More at link.

    I'm interesting in that last statement. Are we, as citizens, doing something right by being vigilant to possible danger or something terribly wrong by not helping our hurting family more?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Hi there Missizzy!

    Thanks for the interesting post. It is an intriguing idea. It's nice that there is no financial benefit to the adults who take the children in, but I kind of worry about boundary issues (Our aim is to facilitate a partnership relationship between volunteers and the biological parent(s), in which your family becomes a kind of "extended family" for the family in crisis. We encourage you to maintain a relationship with the family even after the placement ends, if possible.) Also the non-secular nature of the organization makes me wonder how it would be approved by a gov't organization. But I totally agree that *something* needs to be done for these kids, and giving families an option BEFORE they get to the point of needing foster care is a great idea.

    Here are the FAQs


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    ITA, it sounds intriguing but.......

    I'm actually more concerned about the lack of funding than anything else. Altruism only goes so far. When things get nasty, people drop something like a hot potato. I love the idea of seasoned foster parents mentoring newer ones and of mentors for aging out youth and at-risk families. But, I just cannot imagine it being sustainable without a stipend for the mentor.

    The federal government recognized long ago (1980) that foster children languish in the system due to the lack of support for adopting families. I think the same issue applies to those who choose to attempt to mentor/sponsor families who are court-involved or at-risk. A good heart is a wonderful thing to have but people stay around far longer if there's a paycheck, albeit a small one. Being that this would be a mentoring situation, I would think it would cost far less, however, than full foster care.

    So, intriguing, yes. And I agree, something's got to change.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Hi guys - I hope no one minds, but I am going to ask that this thread be moved to the Spotlight forum.

    It is a good idea! But I think it would require some kind of oversight. Interesting.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    This is interesting....I have long thought that we need more "immediate" solutions...like when a person is "off their meds", we need the old fashioned way that people used to call the mental hospital and off they went....to calm down, get back on track etc

    I think we need more "safe houses"...easily accessible to women and their kids who are in dangerous situations

    I think we need a way to quickly remove kids from dangerous parents and offer the parents a chance to "get help" or else

    I think this "alternative" idea might have some good points...but yeah I think that to work it would probably have to be funded, not just volunteer

    and again...who is watching the watch dogs?? We have seen how pedophiles are drawn to situations where they can find their prey , schools, bus driver, boy scout leader, "clown", etc....so what is to say that these "safe families" might be unsafe?? I think they would have to be checked out...I also think they would have to be compensated in some way.

    I really feel that there needs to be more "swift" action alternatives....to quickly remove a child from a dangerous situation, put them in some safe care and then assess the parents/home/situation.

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