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December Spotlight {shows}

December Spotlight {shows}

Don't Miss Holiday Productions

your family-fun guide to local shows…

The Nutcracker Performances

The Nutcracker Performances

A Sacramento Tradition

  sac parent picks | A…

'Tis the Season...

'Tis the Season...

Win Gleeful Gifts for Kids!

We're putting on our Santa hat…

Excercise with your Kids

Excercise with your Kids

Get Fit & Have Fun

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Newborn Parent Essentials

Newborn Parent Essentials

Local parents share their favorites.

By Michelle McDaidPhotography by MbyMPhotos.com We…

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Newborn Parent Essentials
07 Dec 2014 17:04

By Michelle McDaid
Photography by MbyMPhotos.com We asked local parents to share the must-have items that helped them through the newborn stage; the essential, but not-necessarily-so-pretty gifts they would have loved to [ ... ]

Excercise with your Kids
07 Dec 2014 16:30

Get Fit & Have Fun with your Kids By Giselle Schroer Do you struggle with finding time to excercise because you're busy being a parent? Luckily there's a way you can get in a quick workout while modeling healthy ha [ ... ]

On Repeat This Month
06 Dec 2014 18:01

    From the Theatre of Lights to Outdoor Ice Skating, we've rounded-up the coolest winter seasonal events in town! Check out December's holiday ongoing events HERE.

Ho-Ho-Holiday Crafts
05 Dec 2014 22:06Ho-Ho-Holiday Crafts

Tis the season to pull out the glitter and the glue and let the kids dive in to create one-of-a-kind decorations and gifts.     Tutu Precious Snowflake Ballerina   Glitter Ornaments  [ ... ]

Go Play! Ski & Snow
05 Dec 2014 21:56

Go Play! Ski & Snow By Keilah Woodard If you’ve been thinking of taking a trip to the snow this season, now is the perfect time to start planning! Whether your family is filled with snow novices or experienced s [ ... ]

5 Tips for a Healthier Split
04 Nov 2014 19:40

Can you rise to the challenge? By Lorene Paso So you didn't make it as you planned. Well, it's not the end of the world and the sad facts are that you are not alone. The Divorce rate is close to fifty percent. It's tim [ ... ]

On Display {exhibits} December
25 Jul 2014 08:00

exhibits | your guide to family fun
            New  The Augmented Reality Sandbox
Ongoing at Sacramento Children’s Museum
Children can create their own topographical lands [ ... ]

Day 1 of Potty Training
27 Oct 2014 18:09

By Amanda Rinehart Mamamomtourage blogger, Amanda, gives us the funny play-by-play as she [barely] makes it through the first day of potty training her son.  7:36am
Brady wakes up and we are all super excited to st [ ... ]

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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. .