PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The Safe Families for Children program, offered through Bethany Christian Services, has now helped more than 10,000 children.

  • Safe Families program has helped more than 10,000 families
  • In Central Florida there's been 1068 "volunteer hostings"
  • The program was founded in 2003

The program helps families across the country during times of crisis. In Central Florida, more than 1,068 families have been helped. The program offers emergency care for children whose parents need support. From homelessness to unemployment, Safe Families offers a safe place for the kids to stay while parents get back on their feet.

The average length of stay is about 30 days. More than 97 percent of the children return home after the program.

Gigi Mcphee lives in the Tampa Bay area and has a 3-year-old son named Bryson. Last year she found herself in some tough times and reached out to this program for help.

“It all kind of fell into place once I had time to reset," said Mcphee.

She was homeless, without a job, and without a car. Her son stayed with a volunteer host family for a few months.

“They are my family now," said Mcphee.

Now she has a new job, a home, and a new car. She's going to school and caring for her son. She hopes to become a host family one day.

“She’s going to be a great host family when she’s ready. She’s going to be a great support for another parent in need," said Denise Armstrong, the coordinator for the program in the Tampa Bay area.

A host family in Pasco County shared their thoughts on the rewarding program: “It takes a lot of people to raise a family and there’s a lot of host families out there that are willing to help somebody that just needs a little extra support," said Jeff Fuhrmann. 

The program is always in need of volunteers. If you can't open up your home to host children, they also need volunteers to cook meals and donate items.