Safe Families for Children - https://seattle-tacoma.safe-families.org/
- Bryan Green – Olive Crest - Bryan-Green@olivecrest.org
- We serve most of western Washington.
- Safe Families for children
- Video – (I looked for the video on-line, but couldn’t find it. I do have some really inadequate minutes from the video, though… -ed)
- Gal in crisis – looked like she would lose her children
- Host – welcomed the child into the home
- Gal felt guilty that people wanted to help. Gal: “they didn’t just help my children – they listened and didn’t judge me. I felt comfortable, not anxious or scared.”.
- Host ”We are commanded to love our neighbors - that means all people everywhere” (even if you aren’t commanded, it still seems like a really good idea. –ed.)
- Gal: “for people to open their home out of love and generosity…was amazing“
- Host: “I’d encourage anyone to be a host family – to come along side these families.”.
- Many of our clients’ stories are very complex.
- We have three values – it shows who we are and what we do
- Radical Hospitality - love for a stranger
- Compassion Fueled by Mercy – we’ll burnout without compassion.
- Disruptive Generosity – try to disrupt the systems that are in place through generosity (kind of a nice change from the business world’s “disruptive innovation”, where venture capital funded startups running at a loss force brick and mortar business closures. –ed)
- We build strategic collaboration between Olive Crest and other service providers
- Work to reduce the number of children in foster care
- Offer temporary housing for children under 18 for families in crisis. (I originally had a typo in here that said they “offer temporary hosing for children under 18” – but of course, that wasn’t it at all –although hosing might be a step up from some of the immigrant detention centers in Texas, where kids often don’t have regular access to bathing facilities – sigh… -ed).
- Families doing the hosting and the families getting children in our care do so voluntarily
- Crises that bring families to the program (I had to lookup that crises was plural for crisis – who makes these things up? And crisis is an interesting word – probably from the Greek Krinein, meaning to decide. It later took on a meaning associated with turning points – a time when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death. I think of a crisis as a problem, but the Greek is more about the point when you choose what to do. –ed)
- Hospitalization – 2nd most common use. If a single mom with one child and a second on the way needs to go the hospital for 72 hours, if she is socially isolated, we can offer this kind of help
- Homelessness – the most common reason
- Recent situation – mom living with kid in car – worried about safety of child
- Substance use
- Domestic Violence
- Mental health – need respite for a time
- Keep children safe. Host families want to help the family in lots of ways,
- Surround family with community of care
- Reunite families to reduce children entering the foster care system
- A little bit about the Foster Care System:
- Annual calls to the Washington State Child Protective Services: 118,615
- 75k calls are screened out
- 23k calls are investigated
- 16k end up receiving services
- Are supplementary care – not substitutive care
- It is all voluntary, parents keep custody of the kids
- No financial compensation for host parents
- Call origins
- Relative, friends, self, internet
- Domestic Violence shelters and homeless shelters
- Schools, churches
- We are building an Infrastructure of compassion
- Family in crisis
- Try to surround with as many resources as possible.
- Work a lot with churches – and host families have connections to lots of resources
- Infrastructure of Safety
- We train host families
- Do home studies
- Have hot line to support families
- Do background checks
- Average length of stay
- For children Under 9 years old, around 1 week
- For children over 10 years odd – 9 weeks
- (for comparison – the average stay for a youth in th foster care system is around 18 months. –ed)
- Some longer stays for families
- 70% are 6 and under, 8% are 13 and over (I had this wrong in the original minutes - these are the correct percentages. –ed)
- 95% are reunified
- Safe Families for Children – launched in Chicago in 2003 (is it possible Safe Families for Children is a reincarnation of Mr. Rogers – or is it just a coincidence he passed away in the same year Safe Families for Children began. –ed)
- Currently Safe Families for Children is in 41 states
- In Pierce and King county – 80+ host families
- Intake process
- Client calls us 1-877-341-7332 (or use the web form at https://safe-families.org/request/ -ed)
- The client does an in-person intake with us and we see if it is a good fit and if there is a host family available
- We then do some paperwork
- We usually place within a week
- Focus is on connecting two families
- Host family approval process can take less than 3 weeks (we did foster care at one point, and it took just a wee bit longer than 3 weeks to get licensed…. –ed)
- Question - Do you keep siblings together? Bryan – we do our best. Once had a family of 5, and a host family did if.
- Joy – what is going on with the pregnant Gig Harbor girls? (I think we’ve all been asking that question…-ed) Bryan – we have Safe Families Plus – for kids over 18. Of the two girls in the program, one is getting support through the summer – then will get housing at Tacoma Community College. She has worked with the host family and they are invested in each other. (my notes about this make this seem really odd, but I remember it being a totally normal discussion of one of their programs and a couple clients that utilized that program. I missed something in the translation of the discussion into the minutes. Sorry. –ed)
- Joy – How many partner churches are in Gig Harbor? Bryan – 3
- Question – what do you say to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) households? Bryan – any host family is fine. Part of a church is the infrastructure of care around you. We have all different types of host families – single moms, single adults, all sorts of families.
- Jeremy – your program is a relatively short stay. Do you track move rates? Bryan – we don’t track that so well. I do know two stories where the host family didn’t work in Spanaway. The parent didn’t like some aspects of the program – asked for the kids back. The rate of children coming back to our program is very small. Jeremy – moving between host families I meant. Bryan – that doesn’t happen very often.
- Martha – do you have to be associated with a church to host? Bryan – no, they don’t. But it is helpful to have a community. Martha – Jewish people? Bryan – of course. We are a historically Christian organization, but are open to all faiths (or complete lack of faiths, I’m guessing. –ed)
- Martha – What is the number of Pierce County families. Bryan - 20 in Pierce County
- Martha – What if a teen isn’t into church, do they have to go? Bryan – no. We make sure a teenager is into the host family.
- Maureen – do you inspect the physical home of the host family? Bryan – we do home studies – to see family life and do a home inspection – just once.
- Maureen – how are you licensed. Bryan – we have few license requirements.
- Maureen – background check – nationally or local. Bryan – nationally
- Samie – Beautiful program, and I haven’t worked with it before. Are you certified/mandated reporters? How do you handle conflict and safety. Bryan – yes, we are all mandated reporters – staff and host families. We do trauma-informed care. Families get a bit of training in that. They utilize Olive Crest as a resource for how to deal with things. Our staff will work through all conflict.
- Theresa – your story is really familiar to me. Going to jail is often unexpected. I talk with women in jail that have kids in precarious places. Can you work with people already in jail? Bryan – if they can call us, we can get to them to help them out. I’ve worked with folks going to jail, but not in jail. Paperwork just takes 30 minutes to sign.
- (this evening -
Me: we need to become a host family.
Wife: that means you’d have to stop writing meeting minutes and spend time with your family.
Me: <types meeting minutes>.
Wife: thought so.