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. http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2010/02/senate_considers_alternative_t.html 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?