Safe Families at South Park Church

 Safe Families for Children is a preventative
movement of host families who open their homes
to care for children whose parents are struggling.



The heart of the Safe Families Ministry at South Park Church is to extend the compassion of Christ by providing safe homes for children whose parents are experiencing a difficult season of life and who voluntarily place their children with our families. Safe Families is a collaborative effort between area churches, volunteers, and professionals to prevent child abuse and neglect. South Park Church is committed to partnering with Lydia Home in Chicago to provide this program to residents of Cook County.

Individuals are given the opportunity to address the pressing needs -both immediate and long term for at-risk families in our communities. Immediate relief is providing a child with a safe and loving home as well as providing placing parents respite from direct childcare and provide them an opportunity to address critical issues that are causing instability without fear of losing their child/ren. Long-term relief is provided by the host family and placing family establishing a “relational link” to help end the isolation that many who live in poverty experience.

This ministry provides a unique bridge building opportunity for relationships and understanding with resourced and under resourced families in Chicagoland. Safe Families uniquely address our strategic ministry focus at SPC:

Spiritual formation–Extending ourselves into the uncomfortable and unfamiliar is where much growth can happen. God is active and present in the lives of the families involved and this gives us a great opportunity to see Him at work.

Biblical hospitality is a scriptural requirement of all who follow Christ – Hospitality means love of strangers and it is often best offered in our homes. Hospitality was the one of the key strategy for the spread of the early church. Hospitality was a distinguishing mark that set the church apart from those around.

Compassion and Justice - Compassion is what drives a family or individual to get involved – justice is what keeps them there! Direct relationships with families in need expose our families to a wide range of issues – from race, socio-economic, employment, education and legal inequities from a unique perspective of a caring relationship.

Evangelism - The watching world is looking for a credible witness. Safe Families is an amazing way to open the door to opportunities to share about ones faith in Jesus Christ as the motivator of serving the children and their families.

 Safe Family volunteers can have a powerful impact in the lives of others while being transformed themselves by practicing biblical hospitality and extending the love of Christ to people in need. There are a variety of ways to participate in your area:

Host Families  |  These families are screened and approved volunteers who take in children.

Family Friends  |  Volunteer families that provide respite for host families. These families go through the same process as host families and provide overnight, weekend and short-term help for a host family.

Resource Family  |  Resource Friends provide assistance to parents and other volunteers in the Safe Family movement through Goods, Services, Professional Services, and Prayer.

Safe Family Closet  |  Donations for the Safe Family Closet can be dropped off at the Safe Family Closet bin near the Welcome Center.

If you are able to volunteer by sorting the donations in our closet please contact Becky Celenza at 847.987.9023. We are always grateful for any professional or volunteer services that we can provide our host family. If you are a host family in need of any resources - or - if you would like to make services available to a host family, please contact Becky Celenza at 847.987.9023.

 If you are in need of Safe Families Services or are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact our Safe Families Network Coordinator, Janessa Gustaveson, at

 For more information on Safe Families in Chicago, visit

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