Safe Families: A New Ministry Partnership at Karis Church

Most people feel their lives are busy – but also yearn for ways to connect with others and to serve within the community. Sometimes that is difficult as a family with young children, trying to serve during that full stage of life and even include children in doing so. Some families may contemplate pursuing adoption or foster care but are not sure they can afford it or are overwhelmed by the process and the commitment required. Other people may not have children themselves but would still love to be involved in caring for kids. Some are passionate about preserving families, supporting vulnerable people in their hardest times, and keeping parents and children together long-term.

Karis Church is excited to announce a new ministry partnership with Safe Families, an organization that provides an opportunity for anyone who falls into any of those categories above to serve. The mission of Safe Families is to host vulnerable children and create extended family-like supports for desperate families through a community of devoted volunteers who are motivated by compassion to keep children safe and families intact.

Local families can reach out to Safe Families when they find themselves in crisis. That crisis situation could be anything from homelessness to unemployment to hospitalization to incarceration to domestic violence to the need to complete a substance abuse treatment program – there are a number of possibilities. A parent finds herself in a situation in which she needs help. She has a specific need, and she is working toward meeting the goals she has, but she needs help in caring for her children while she does so.

Most of us would say we are busy people, but we also want to demonstrate God’s love to the people around us. This is a very concrete way we can do that – and it is a way that is entirely possible for many of us who are a part of Karis Church. If a parent finds herself in a crisis situation in which she needs help caring for her children, she can voluntarily place her children with a host family, who can be a safe, caring place for her children, while she works through the situation she is facing. She retains legal custody, and her children can return to her at any time, but she has the support to care for them while needed.

Various testimonials from the Safe Families website speak to the beauty of what this love and care can look like. Lauren was diagnosed with cancer in May 2013 when her son Carter was less than a year old. As a single mother facing 26 months of chemotherapy, she knew she needed help. Carter thrived in the care of the host families. “He talks about all these families. He talks about them every time he’s home with me. He talks about the boys. One of the families has three boys, and he absolutely loves these boys. It’s like he’s got extra brothers and sisters,” says Lauren. She credits Safe Families for giving her the chance to take care of herself as well as her son when she had few options. “They’ve been absolute angels to our family, and I just want to say ‘thank you’ a million times.”

These stories are the stories of hurting people – people who want to do well, who want to care for their children, who want to be the best parents they can be, but who need support to do that.

We at Karis are in a great position to offer some of that support. So many of us are passionate about caring for vulnerable families and vulnerable children, and so many of us are in a phase of life in which we’re perfectly positioned to care for another child or two on a short-term basis.

Being a part of Safe Families is an opportunity for us to put into practice biblical hospitality in serving modern-day “widows and orphans,” living out justice and mercy and compassion in a real way.

In order to have Safe Families fully operational in Columbia, more host families are needed – families who are open to considering hosting children while parents in crisis work toward meeting their goals. Signing up to be a host family does not obligate you to be open to any situation; it just allows you to say yes to situations that would work for you. The application and training and approval process is straightforward and simple. And Safe Families provides ongoing support for the host families throughout the hosting process.

Please join us for a meeting at Karis Church in the Office Wing on Sunday, February 24 at 6:00 pm for anyone interested in more information about becoming a host family. Childcare will be provided.

If you have any questions, please contact Alison Ballou at