Parents in crisis turn to host families
Most parents can fully understand the phrase "It takes a village." But some parents don't have a “village” to help them raise their children. So, a program is providing them with some help by pairing them with host parents.
Tom and Kimberly Malone are among the volunteers serving as host parents. They have four children of their own, and have taken in dozens more over the past few years.
“We've always loved children, we've always thought we have more love to give,” said Tom.
So they've given it to children whose parents have asked for help.
“Sometimes as a parent you just need to walk away for a minute and sometimes those parents can't walk away for a minute,” said Kimberly.
So, the Malones step in as volunteers for a program called Safe Families for Children. The program allows parents in crisis to send their children to stay with host parents for up to three months. Then the program facilitator, Bethany Christian Services, helps the parents in need get back on their feet.
“The mom still has full custody of her kids. So it's really kind of like co-parenting, we want the mom to be as involved with her child as possible while they're with the host family,” said program coordinator Madison Witte.
So, while a parent is in the hospital, or working to get a job or housing, their kids can keep working on being kids.
“We take them to the Magic House, we take them to the zoo, we run them all over and they sort of just come with us,” said Tom.
If that sounds like a lot of work, it is. But the Malones say the hardest part is saying goodbye.
“But, we know that they're going back to a loving family. And these moms care about their kids or they wouldn't be doing this in the first place,” said Tom.
Host families go through an application and training process. If you'd like to host, or if you or someone you know needs help through the program call or text 314-452-6547. You can also fill out an application at safefamilies.org.