Meet Our Chapter
Welcome to Our Greater Chicago Region Chapter Page!
We serve Cook, Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Will, Kankakee, and surrounding counties.
Safe Families for Children got started right here in Chicago!
In 2003, the Safe Families for Children movement began in Chicago. Our goal then and now is to engage families via faith communities to open their homes to care for vulnerable children. Since then, we’ve had nearly 7,000 children placed into 1,400 Host Family homes. We currently have more than 1,200 Host Families opening their homes to more than 1,000 children each year in the Chicagoland area. Seventy-five percent of children placed are under the age of 6 years old. Over 90% of the kids return to their parents or a relative that is identified to take over.
The Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) in Illinois is our largest referral source. We are also referred to by our local police, hospitals, schools, agencies, and parents themselves.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Our trainings are designed to equip you to welcome a child into your home (Host Family) or support a host or family in need (Family Friend) and move you through the training process efficiently. The virtual Comprehensive Training Session includes everything you need to become a certified Safe Families’ Volunteer.
We offer Core/Family Friend training (an overview of Safe Families and Family Friend training – also known as Host part 1 training) and Host training (Host part 2 training). You can register for either Zoom trainings or live in-person trainings below. Each training is about 2 hours long.
Please click HERE to see what trainings and informational meetings are happening in the area.
HOW DOES SAFE FAMILIES for CHILDREN HELP A FAMILY?
We have so many stories of ways that our volunteers and staff have come alongside literally thousands of families and helped them stabilize and be able to keep their families together. Here is just one story that has happened recently.
Have you ever had a time where for every step forward you were hit with two steps back? That has been the season that our placing parent Jody (not real name) has been in. She had two boys that were ages 2 and 3 years old when their dad walked away and Jody has been parenting them on her own.
A little over a year ago Jody got involved unfortunately with a man who was abusive. She got pregnant this time with twins. The father was threatening Jody to have an abortion. She made an appointment to have an abortion but when she got there she realized she couldn’t go through with it. She canceled her appointment and chose to flee from her boyfriend with her two boys.
Jody ended up in Elgin in Section 8 housing. Jody has no family and no friends that she can rely on. This past summer she was ready to give birth to the twins and someone at the hospital told her about Safe Families for Children. She had also heard of Safe Families from the food pantry she was going to at a local church. She called Safe Families and hosts took care of her now 4 and 5-year-old sons while she was having a C-sect with the twins. She was so pleased to have given birth to two healthy baby boys. She felt she had made the right decision to keep them even though she knew life was going to be hard.
The day she came home from the hospital with her twins she opened the door to find a letter on her floor saying that she now had one baby too many to be in her apartment and she was being evicted in less than a month. She was allowed to have three children, not four, for her housing voucher. Now what?
Our Safe Families coach and volunteers helped Jody get to court where the Judge heard her case and allowed her two more months to find adequate housing. Section 8 housing is very scarce in this area right now. It has been a rollercoaster trying to find safe housing for her and her children. She even had a seemingly nice landlord scam her out of $500 in the process. She knew she was taking a risk by sending this man the $500 she had been saving towards a security deposit. He played her expertly saying that he really wanted her to have the house and that he would save it for her if only she would send him the money right away. He even told her that the security deposit is $1500 but that he was willing to just take $500 because he really wanted her and her kids to have the house. Not only did he not show up at the house he changed his number. Needless to say, she was devasted. She felt foolish for trusting a stranger and couldn’t believe someone could be so cruel. Our volunteers raised the $500 she lost so she could have the security deposit for another place and are helping her move in just in the nick of time.
We also realized that her oldest son should be in school. She let us know that the school was insisting that she come in person and sign paperwork before he could start. She had explained to the school that she did not have a car, the school was too far for her to walk, and she had just had a C-sect., let alone carrying twins to the school. They said that was the only way her son could start school. If she were to get an Uber it would have to be the XL size for her family and she didn’t have enough money for that. She didn’t know what to do. So she kept him home. Again, our Safe Families coach and volunteers helped her get to the school and file the paperwork. Her son was then able to take the bus the next day. We are currently working with an organization to try to get her a car.
Jody has said if it weren’t for Safe Families she knows she would be homeless and possibly lose her children. We have had several Safe Families volunteers come alongside her besides hosting her children while she was giving birth, we have helped her take the babies to their doctor’s appointments, let her go to the parent-teacher night at school, grocery shopping, etc. Jody is a mom who is trying to do the right thing but keeps getting knocked down. The next time you get hit with two steps back think about Jody. Wouldn’t you want someone to come alongside you? Our goal at Safe Families is to keep children safe and families together. By stepping into life with Jody we can help change the trajectory of her life as well as all four of her children. Won’t you join us in caring for the many Jodys in our area?
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