Colorado Safe Families for Children had been working with a handful of churches in the state to keep kids out of foster care during family crises, KCNC-TV reported.
“When life happens and you don’t have a village, you can really stand the chance of losing your kids and that’s heartbreaking,” Kelly McFadden, head of Colorado Safe Families for Children, told the station.
The nonprofit works with 10 churches to find volunteer host families to care for children until their parents are able, KCNC reported.
Colorado Safe Families for Children is “for those kids who aren’t neglected and abused but their parents are really just in a critical situation or a trying situation where they just need help,” McFadden added to the station, noting examples such as “a deployed parent, a single mom who ends up in the hospital” or when “a flood or natural disaster” leaves a family homeless.
“To be willing to hand your child to someone you don’t know takes a lot courage, and we recognize that,” she told KCNC, adding that “you have to be in a pretty desperate place to do that, and so we work so hard and these host families work so hard to love these kids — but almost more importantly, to love the parent.”
But the state ended all that…
But the state of Colorado recently sent Colorado Safe Families for Children a cease and desist letter, saying the organization was acting as a child placement agency and that it required a license for such an activity, the station reported.
“The heart person in me goes, ‘I can’t believe this. We’re just trying to help people,’” McFadden told KCNC. “And then I realized there are heart people and there are rules people.”
Believe it or not, a Democrat and a Republican stepped in
Republican state Rep. Kim Ransom and Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Singer both believe Colorado Safe Families for Children shouldn’t be hampered by bureaucracy, the station said.
“Sometimes our red tape gets in way of good practice and good policy,” Singer told KCNC, while Ransom added that the “program really was and is a way to make sure that families stay intact.”
So Singer and Ransom introduced a bill allowing such organizations to operate with state oversight, the station reported, adding that it establishes a legal agreement letting parents temporarily give up custody of their kids and institutes background checks and training for host families as well as reporting requirements. The bill passed its first House committee, KCNC reported.
Safe Families for Children operates in 32 other states, the station said.
McFadden couldn’t stress enough the important role her organization plays. “There is someone today who is scrambling and doesn’t know what to do with their kids,” she said.