A Beacon of Hope for Families

2023 | Week of October 9 | Radio Transcript #1535

You may know about our state’s safe haven law that allows a parent to anonymously relinquish an infant no more than seventy-two hours old to law enforcement, a hospital, or EMT personnel; but did you know we also have a Safe Families law?

Wisconsin’s Safe Families Law stands as a beacon of hope, fostering strong communities and resilient families. From our perspective, this law embodies the core values of compassion and support offered by churches and families in a community.

This legislation, passed into law in 2011, empowers families facing temporary crises, such as illness or homelessness or other high stress situations, by offering them and their children a safe haven. Through this law, families in distress can voluntarily seek assistance, ensuring that children are protected and nurtured while parents regain stability.

The Safe Families Law emphasizes the significance of fostering relationships between families in need and compassionate volunteers. These volunteers, often from churches in a given community, open their hearts and homes to children, providing them with love, care, and stability during challenging times. By uniting families and volunteers, the law not only prevents children from entering the foster care system but also strengthens the social fabric of communities across Wisconsin.

Consider the Smith family, a fictional representation of the countless families positively affected by Wisconsin’s Safe Families Law. Sarah Smith, a single mother, found herself overwhelmed when she was diagnosed with a severe illness, rendering her unable to care for her two young children, Emily and Jacob. Faced with the daunting prospect of her children being placed in foster care, Sarah turned to the Safe Families program for help.

Through the Safe Families Law, the Smiths were connected with the Johnsons, a warm-hearted family in their community. The Johnsons, having heard about Sarah’s situation through safefamilieswi.org at their church, welcomed Emily and Jacob into their home with open arms. Over the next few months, the children flourished under the Johnsons’ care, maintaining a sense of stability and normalcy despite their mother’s illness. Sarah, knowing her children were safe and loved, was able to focus on her recovery, bolstered by the knowledge that her family was supported by the community.

By enabling families to navigate difficult circumstances without the fear of ultimate separation, the law preserves the unity of families and promotes the well-being of children. This approach is designed to strengthen family bonds and create a nurturing environment for every child.

Our Safe Families law is strictly temporary with a year limit and prevents these stand-in families or parents from consenting to the child’s marriage or adoption, agreeing to the child having an abortion, terminating parental rights, and allowing the child to enlist in the military.

The Safe Families Law encourages individuals to actively engage in the welfare of their neighbors, reinforcing the idea that a thriving society is built on mutual care and support. Churches are the most natural place for volunteer safe families to come from.

In recent years a Safe Families Wisconsin organization has been started, primarily helping churches identify safe families and getting those families the training they need to begin having children in their home under this law. Currently Safe Families Wisconsin has seven services centers that cover fourteen counties, including Dane, Dodge, Jefferson, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Racine. Safe Families Wisconsin is also providing the opportunity for families needing help to apply through their website to start the process. Hopefully, with this organization now up and running, more people will find out about this wonderful opportunity for Christians in particular to reach out into the community and help their neighbors.

This law offers families a lifeline during times of crisis, a lifeline without getting involved with foster care, ensuring that children are nurtured and protected while their parents regain stability.

Wisconsin’s Safe Families Law provides an opportunity for believers to actively help shape a future where every child is cherished, every family is supported, and every community thrives. Through this collective endeavor, Wisconsin paves the way for a brighter, more resilient tomorrow for all its citizens.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you that God, through the prophet Hosea, said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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