Safe Families for Children

Iowa City/Cedar Rapids

December Newsletter

Greetings!  I pray you are well.  Welcome to our final newsletter of the year! 2016 has been an unprecedented year for Safe Families in the Corridor and throughout the state of Iowa. You have conducted over 115 hostings, welcoming over 100 children, and helping over 50 families in crisis stay together.  In 2015, we conducted 20 hostings, placed 12 children, and helped only 8 families in crisis stay together.  Our impact has increased 600 percent in one year!  Additionally, we have doubled our volunteers and churches in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, and started two new chapters in Des Moines and Burlington which have already recruited volunteers and begun hosting!  However, we are only scratching the surface of the need that is in our community, and our potential for impact.

We Need Your Continued Support!

Your willingness to come alongside families in crisis this past year has strengthened and supported many families who would otherwise be at-risk of being separated by the state or by tragedy.  In addition, many social service providers, including schools and hospitals are turning to Safe Families.  Many of these social service providers have said to me time and again, “Thank you for giving us an alternative to DHS.”  What you are doing through Safe Families isn’t simply helping families in crisis, it’s helping the entire community, and my prayer, is that it also helping you and your family be more like Christ and experience the joy there is to be had when we love others as he has loved us.

In 2015, DHS in Iowa received 50,000 phone calls from parents in crisis who were seeking a safe place for their children.  Out of those 50,000 phone calls, DHS was only able to respond to 25,000 of those.  At the moment, Safe Families is the only alternative to DHS that parents in Iowa have.  We have a tremendous opportunity, not just as Safe Families, but as the body of Christ, to help children and parents across the state of Iowa remain safe and together.

You all have given so much to help families in crisis throughout the Corridor.  I am now asking that you consider giving financially to continue to support the work that you are doing through Safe Families.  The hope is that we would raise enough funding in order to be able to hire two more staff for the Corridor (one for Iowa City and one for Cedar Rapids).  In order to do that, we would need to raise $60,000 – $80,000.  However, small donations go a long way.  With 100 donors at $40 a month, we would be able to raise more than half that!   If you are interested in giving financially, you can do so on our CrowdRise page, or, to set up a recurring donation click here.  Just make sure to designate your donation towards ‘Iowa City/Cedar Rapids’.

Safe Families does not exist without you, and it does not exist without what Christ has done for us.  Thank you so much for everything done to help make families safe and share the love of Christ.  You are a blessing!

New Safe Families IA Video
This past year the Todd and Shannon Kuennen of Stonebridge Church in Cedar Rapids, and their three children, helped a mother named Dasha and her two children who were dealing with homelessness.  To see their story, click here.
Volunteer Spotlight

Ryan and Natasha Miller of Grace Community Church in North Liberty, and their three children, have been a host family since 2014.  This is their story.

Ryan and I (Natasha) became involved because we were looking for a way to be missional in our own community. We had previously had the opportunity to travel to Thailand and invest in children’s lives there and we wanted to continue investing in the lives of children in our own city. 

Our first hosting was a long one, three months, for a little boy with special needs. I remember the first time I got to meet the mother we sat on an apartment floor because there was no furniture. She wondered why we were willing to take care of her son. I got to explain that God had blessed us with resources such as a secure job for Ryan and a house with extra space, as well as money to buy food. I shared that He blessed us with those things not so we could keep them to ourselves, but so that we could bless those around us. 

Since that time we have had the privilege to have several hostings as well as a few on-going relationships with a couple of the placing mothers. These relationships have been challenging, but that’s one aspect of Safe Families that we love. Not only are we able to help children in need, we are also able to share the gospel through words and deeds to the parents as well. This is the real reason we are involved with Safe Families. 

Our three children have been able to join us in this ministry; they have seen us meet physical needs and share gospel truth. They have been asked to open their rooms, share their toys and space, and be the hands and feet of Jesus alongside Ryan and me. The journey is long and sometimes painful, but that’s the truth of life here on earth. We are all sinners living in a sinful world, but God has a good plan for us and we are called to share that with those around us. We are happy to share the gospel truth through Safe Families.

 

A Parent’s Perspective

In October, a mother of two children in Cedar Rapids who was dealing with homelessness reached out to Safe Families for help.  This is her story.

This past fall, I asked my worker from HACAP about any kind of program that host kids without the state being involved, and she told me about a program called, Safe Families .

Safe families helped in numerous ways, not just finding a safe family to host my children, but it also was a good support system.  Once I found an apartment, my host family got different people to donate beds and household essentials, on top of raising money for my 1st month rent, which I was totally grateful for and didnt really know how to thank them enough.

It was important to me, because I truly needed a safe environment for my kids while we were going through a tough time living from hotel to hotel, sometimes sleeping in our car when i couldn’t afford to pay for an hotel.  So I was very happy my kids got to be together!  It made things so much easier for us.

I definitely would recommend Safe Families to others in our situation.  Everyone needs a support system of positive people in their lives.  They gave me all of the above!

Also, Safe Families impacted me by showing me that there are still good people in this world of all races.  I still keep in contact with my host family and will continue to do so.  My kids love them very much.

-Brianna

Upcoming Events

  • Saturday, February 18th, Cedar Rapids Family Church will be hosting a volunteer training.  This will be a great opportunity to receive training for the ministry, meet other volutneers, and go over any questions you might have. Please feel free to share this event with your church and anyone else who might be interested.
  • State Senator Kevin Kinney will be filing Safe Families legislation again this upcoming legislative session.  Please pray that it would be received favorably.  Also, if you are interested in helping lobby for the legislation please let me know as there will likely be a sub-committee meeting in January or February.