A roundup of some of The Imprint’s most impactful stories in 2020
David Anderson founded the Chicago-based Safe Families as a faith-based alternative to the child welfare system, designed to provide needed respite for parents in crisis. According to its website, Safe Families’ hosting model is “a positive alternative to the State child welfare system,” noting, “the voluntary and non-coercive nature of Safe Families is a hallmark of the program.”
But when Safe Families tried to make inroads into New York this year, it drew surprising pushback from legal and child welfare advocates who think the model is too frequently used as a tool of the child protection system, often as an alternative to foster care removals.
One letter of concern sent to New York’s child welfare regulatory agency describes the host home model as “a hydra-headed quasi-foster care monster, with all of the hallmarks of foster care but none of the legal protections the law demands.”