Safe Families for Children, a Christian charity, whose patron is the Archbishop of Canterbury, working with local authorities across the UK, has received glowing endorsements for its work with vulnerable children and struggling families.
Two reports, from the Dartington Social Research Unit, and from Nottingham City Council’s Department for Children’s Services, have concluded that Safe Families for Children is delivering great benefits to families, and its local authority partners.
The Dartington Social Research Unit’s report highlights the scale of Safe Families’ rollout and its engagement with more than 3,000 volunteers nationwide who, with Safe Families, the report says, improve wellbeing, stabilise families, and reduce stress levels.
The report from Nottingham City Council reveals the charity’s capacity to divert children away from care (a reduction of 12%); the financial savings it delivers to local authorities (up to £120k in the first year); and its positive impact on the emotional and mental health of families (71% reported an improvement in overall wellbeing and 75% reported reduced anxiety).
In just three years since it was founded in the UK by philanthropist Sir Peter Vardy, Safe Families has already supported nearly 2,400 children with a network of over 3,000 committed volunteers nationwide.
Safe Families volunteers can have three different roles: Host Families, who provide safe accommodation for children for up 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.
The Most Reverend Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, patron of Safe Families for Children, said: “Encouragement and help from supportive friends can make such a difference to parents and children in challenging times. I’m very pleased to be the Patron of Safe Families for Children as they extend their work to help volunteers and churches provide that essential support for families in crisis.”
Keith Danby, Chief Executive of Safe Families for Children, said: “The results of the recent reports are an indication of the work we at Safe Families are passionate about. Creating better outcomes for children and their families across the UK. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the thousands of volunteers who have come forward from the faith community, and who provide so much hope and opportunity to struggling families.”
Gifty, a Nottingham mum of two, was left unable to cope by the unexpected death of her husband in 2013. Safe Families for Children stepped in to provide mentoring support and resources, to prevent Gifty’s eight-year-old son, Gabe, from following his older sister, Sally, 14, into foster care.
Gifty said: “When my husband died, I just couldn’t cope. We were all grieving and we had no money. My little girl Sally needed space, so she’s staying with a foster family at the moment. If it wasn’t for Safe Families, my son Gabe would have gone into care too. It was a vital lifeline for me. Safe Families came in and gave me all the support I needed to look after Gabe.”
Media Contact: Lydia Dyer – 07387 109742