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Maintaining Harmony with Young Musicians

Maintaining Harmony with Young Musicians

Helping Children Learn

By Heather Lee Leap Your child…

Teach Tots to Help Others

Teach Tots to Help Others

Giving Back

It’s A,B,C,D…Easy! By Ruth Hanley It’s…

Saving the World, One Lemon at a Time

Saving the World, One Lemon at a Time

#ichooseweird

  Meet Hannah…local artist and children’s…

Adventurous Dessert Destinations

Adventurous Dessert Destinations

Local Tasty Treats

  Edited by Shannon Smith Whether…

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Fresh Stories & Good Stuff

Musical Rhythm Sticks
24 Jun 2015 20:46

By Shannon Smith Tap and shake your rhythm sticks to keep the beat or rub them together to make a cool cricket sound. We created ours in red, white and blue in honor of Independence Day!

Maintaining Harmony with Young Musicians
24 Jun 2015 19:23

By Heather Lee Leap Your child wants to play an instrument, you want him to practice, but making it work is not always easy. While practicing is predominantly a solo endeavor, the nature of music is social, and for chil [ ... ]

Teach Tots to Help Others
24 Jun 2015 18:39

It’s A,B,C,D…Easy! By Ruth Hanley It’s never too early to demonstrate caring for others. Teach your toddler the joy of giving with simple, fun ideas that let her be a part of making the choices. Creating a tradit [ ... ]

Saving the World, One Lemon at a Time
24 Jun 2015 18:02

  Meet Hannah…local artist and children’s book illustrator By Christine Quarry THE NEW CHERRY Usually when you think of a lemon, your mouth puckers and salivates or you expect your car to stop working as soo [ ... ]

Adventurous Dessert Destinations
24 Jun 2015 17:25

  Edited by Shannon Smith Whether it’s date night or family night, you can’t beat a cool treat on a hot summer eve! Lucky for us, we’ve got some fantastic choices when it comes to delish desserts. I mean, we [ ... ]

Take Dad Out to the Ball Game!
26 May 2015 18:24

  By Shannon Smith Buy him some peanuts and crackerjacks—show that important Dad in your life that you’re his #1 fan with one of these ‘outta the park’ picks for Father’s Day!

Party Planning—Without the Stress!
26 May 2015 17:47

By Gigi Mallatt • Photography by Ligia Ann Photography Have you ever attended a birthday party where the host or hostess is running around frantic, panicked, and completely stressed out? Chances are, the planning of t [ ... ]

Soothing the Stings, Bites, and Burns of Summer
26 May 2015 17:00

By Ashley Talmadge Ahhh, summer! The joy of being in the great outdoors seems endless. Yet, the season also brings an abundance of biting insects, harsh sunrays, and rash-producing plants. When exuberant squeals turn in [ ... ]

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Sacramento Parent Magazine

Safe Families for Children

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Safer Kids, Stronger Families, Real Community: Sacramento welcomes a new program to keep families intact

By Amber Pryor

Cory sits proudly in a school auditorium watching his 6-year-old son recite “Chums,” a sweet little poem about a boy and his dog, by Arthur Guiterman. The dark-haired, wide-eyed little boy flashes a grin, showing off his missing two front teeth. His stuffed dog, Barky, sits by his side. Cory’s son looks into the crowd to see his family clapping and cheering—a family that includes his grandparents, who have been raising him while his dad gets back on his feet.

 

“If it wasn’t for my parents, I couldn’t be with my son,” says Cory. “I have been sober now for two and a half years, but only found a job six months ago. I haven’t been able to take care of my son. My parents are doing a great job, and they are making it possible for me to be involved in his life.”

When a crisis strikes, the support of family can make all the difference in the lives of parents—and their children. “Yet many families don't have a support system, don't have family,” says Laura Richardson of Koinonia Family Services, a foster and adoption agency with four locations in Northern California, including Sacramento. “Without a support system, things are more likely to go downhill quickly.”

That downhill slide Richardson describes usually lands children in foster care, making it difficult to reunite families and costing the state $20,000 per child for every year they remain in the system. With over 4,300 children in an already-stretched Sacramento County dependency system, a reduction in the number of kids in the system would make a significant difference.

Enter the Safe Families for Children (SFFC) program, launching this month through Koinonia’s Sacramento office.


Safe Families for Children (SFFC) Training
Thursday, May 5 at 6:30 p.m.
RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


A Safe New Solution
Established in Chicago in 2003, SFFC has served over 3,000 children and their families, in 16 states. This successful, quickly-growing program calls on local churches to oversee “safe families” which provide temporary care to children in need, referred through the program. At the same time, the program provides services to the parents, so that they can become safe families for their own children.

“Parents don’t have to feel like they are floundering out there all by themselves,” Richardson exclaims. With SFFC the community comes together to expand the safety net for families experiencing a temporary crisis. The fundamental goal is to reunite and strengthen families, which SFFC has successfully done for 94% of the families they have served.

The program benefits taxpayers, too. The cost to provide care for a child in the SFFC program is just $2,500 per year, and since SFFC is not state-funded, all of the costs for training and retaining licensed staff are covered from donations to Koinonia Family Services.

According to Leslie Beltran, of Sacramento County’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), “SFFC offers a distinctive approach from the government system, defraying the need for government intervention. The hope is to decrease the number of children entering the dependency system.”

SFFC’s safe families belong to a church that has created a Safe Families ministry. Each family provides a home for a child in need, without compensation, from several days to a year. Says Beltran, “I really appreciate that these host families are trained and screened by a licensed recognized foster family agency, Koinonia.”

During the child’s placement, parents retain all their parental rights and are encouraged to be part of the decision-making for the child. Parents in the program also remain committed to addressing their circumstances, while receiving ongoing support from the church. For some this could mean help finding employment or housing; for others, it could mean drug rehabilitation.

As an elementary school teacher and foster-adopt parent, Nichole Harshbarger has worked closely with CPS and families in crisis. She believes the SFFC model offers the greatest benefit to families. “The biggest thing I have learned through the process is a child’s family may not have the resources available and they may not make the best choices, but they are people, just like me. They want the best for their kids.” It’s an opportunity, says Harshbarger, “for families to get back on track.”

To help them stay on track, the church maintains ties with the families even after reunification, providing resources when needed. “The church recognizes people want to be self-reliant and good parents. We are creating lasting relationships, because it is the relational aspect that really changes lives,” explains Richardson.

Currently, 10 local churches, within 10 Northern California counties, are expressing interest in SFFC—and that number continues to grow. Government agencies, educational institutions, and foster related services, like CASA, are expressing their support and excitement, too. For Richardson, the enthusiasm behind SFFC is quite simple: “People just think it makes sense. It’s the way we are supposed to be as a community.”

For more information about SFFC or to make a donation, call 1-800-881-2098 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .