GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Bethany Christian Services, a global nonprofit that supports children and families, announced Monday that they have surpassed 10,000 hostings through the Safe Families for Children program. 

According to a press release, 1,077 of those hostings were through Bethany Christian Services of Grand Rapids.

“We’re excited to hit this benchmark number, not because it’s a good metric, but because of all of the lives it represents,” said Bethany President and CEO, Chris Palusky. “That’s 10,000 meaningful, transformational community engagements across the U.S, 10,000 families that got on a path to wholeness, and more than 10,000 children kept out of the foster care system.”

Safe Families was founded in 2003 as a solution for parents and families experiencing trauma like poverty, addiction recovery, homelessness, unemployment, and other circumstances that would make the family unit vulnerable. Safe Families acknowledges there must be a better way to do child welfare and recognizes the role social isolation plays in driving families into difficult situations.

Through Bethany’s Safe Families for Children program, 97% of children return to their homes with their families. Bethany first partnered with Safe Families in 2008 and today offers the program in 17 states. 

The average stay of a child with a Host Family is just 30 days — however, the program unique in that host families commit to anywhere from two days to 12 months of support, helping to support the child's family in rebuilding, even after the child returns to their parents.

To mark the 10,000th hosting milestone, Bethany is rolling out a Family Preservation campaign in the month of October. Here are a few ways you can get involved:   

  • Can’t be a host family or don’t have a local Bethany branch? Get involved by donating a kid-sized “safe suitcase” to kids in the Safe Families program through Bethany. Many kids must transport their personal items with a trash bag. 
  • Celebrate Bethany’s first annual Family Preservation Day on Oct. 10 by using the hashtags #FamiliesForFamilies and #NotAlone on social media and sharing a photo of your unique family!

Bethany Christian says the key way you can help kids in your community experiencing family trauma is by signing up to be a host family or supporting a host family. It costs $1,500 to recruit, train, and support volunteers to work with families in crisis and connect with community resources. To get involved by becoming a host family or supporting a host family, visit Bethany.org.

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