Innovative children’s charity launches in Hampshire to keep children out of care

Safe Families for Children will work with Hampshire County Council to support struggling families across Eastleigh and the New Forest.

Safe Families, working closely with local authorities around the country, seeks to divert children from being taken into the care system, improving their life chances and delivering more positive outcomes for families.

Safe Families’ new relationship with Hampshire County Council will see the charity providing a wraparound package of early intervention support to families, preventing problems from escalating with children becoming ‘looked after’.

Working in partnership with 21 local authorities, Safe Families seeks to be a community based solution to a community based problem. With more than 3000 volunteers across England, Safe Families recruits and trains volunteers who provide early intervention support for struggling families, in a ‘people helping people’ model.

Chris Allcock, Safe Families for Children South Coast Programme Manager, said: “At Safe Families, we work with local authorities in a variety of innovative ways to deliver improved outcomes for children at risk of entering the care system. It’s a testament to our volunteers’ impact that more and more councils are partnering with Safe Families as we expand along the South Coast following our launch in Southampton last year”

Steve Crocker, Director of Children’s Services at Hampshire County Council, said: “Hampshire Children’s Services have worked constructively with Safe Families for Children to help set up a partnership which will take forward our shared aims. Whilst this programme is at an early stage, we look forward to evaluating the outcomes for vulnerable children in Hampshire.”

Bishop Jonathan, Bishop of Southampton, said: “Safe Families for Children has already had a life-changing impact on vulnerable children in Southampton, so it’s encouraging that this transformational project is expanding into Hampshire. In Southampton, volunteers came forward from the city’s churches and faith groups, and I know that the charity will receive a similarly generous response from communities across Hampshire. With Church, charity and local government working together to help people in need, their contribution will make a huge difference.”

Since it was founded in the UK in 2012, Safe Families has supported more than 2800 children with a network of over 3000 volunteers nationwide. Safe Families’ community-based solution to a community-based problem, links volunteers with struggling families, allowing neighbourly volunteers to step in at the outset of any issues in families’ lives before they escalate and cause lasting, sometimes irreparable, damage.

Safe Families volunteers offer three levels of support: Host Families, who provide respite safe accommodation for children from a couple of nights to two weeks; Family Friends, who offer mentoring support to parents struggling through difficult times; and Resource Friends, who provide goods and services families might need. Through befriending, mentoring, the provision of respite care and resources, volunteers provide a lifeline for many families.

By providing support to struggling families before their problems have reached a crisis, Safe Families is able to support hundreds of children across the country, helping them to remain at home with their parents, delivering better long term outcomes to children, their families and local authorities.

Safe Families is looking to recruit 150 new volunteers in the Eastleigh and New Forest area. Contact 023 8225 0131 for more information about how you can get involved.