Earlier this year, Safe Families for Children Alaska received a call from a single mother with two young girls. Mom explained that she needed to have an emergency surgery that would render her incapable of normal movement for a few weeks. Her girls, who are used to being picked up and crawling all over their mom, would be unable to receive the attention and care they needed during her recovery.
Isolated and unsupported, mom had no one safe in her life to entrust her girls to. She also knew that if she were unable to find a safe place for her girls before surgery, she would have to place them in foster care. Fortunately, before that happened, a local church referred mom to Safe Families for Children Alaska, a new program offered through the nonprofit Beacon Hill.
Arrangements were made for the girls to stay with a certified volunteer host family whose children were close to the same age and attend the same school as the girls do. During her recovery, mom was able to video chat and talk on the phone with her children frequently.
The host family worked tirelessly to make the girls feel comfortable and at home, emphasizing the fact that these “extended sleepovers” were giving their mom time to recover and as soon as she was all healed and ready to go, they would be on their way back home.
During the placement, the host family connected mom with a support system though their mutual school connections and a local church. By the time the placement ended with Safe Families for Children, mom felt connected and cared for, and understood that she now has a network of people to call if anything like this were to happen again.
Thanks to Alaska Children’s Trust’s support of Beacon Hill and Safe Families for Children Alaska in 2016, these two young children and 19 others have avoided the trauma of unnecessarily entering the foster care system. Beacon Hill’s board and staff members are unbelievably grateful for the lifelong impact Alaska Children’s Trust has had on Alaska’s vulnerable families in 2016.
Find more stories like this in the Alaska Children’s Trust 2016 community report – coming soon!