Who are Safe Families?

You will have seen that we at Home for Good are merging with Safe Families. We wanted to take some time today to share a little more about who Safe Families are, what they do and why it makes such sense for us to be joining together.

Safe Families is a charity that offers hope, belonging and support to children, families and care leavers across the UK.

Safe Families helps churches and community groups to be part of the solution to the increasing isolation felt by families, and the high numbers of children going into care, through providing friendship and community.

Since it was launched in the UK by philanthropist Sir Peter Vardy in 2012, this innovative approach has supported over 23,000 children from over 10,000 families in total and has helped reduce the flow of children going into care by between 9 and 16% in the areas that have been measured.

Safe Families volunteers connect with people facing social isolation either as ‘Family Friends’, offering support when it’s needed, or ‘Host Families’, opening their homes to children for short stays to give parents a regular break or to step in in an emergency such as a hospital visit. There is also the ‘Resource Friend’, who can provide useful items or skills to a family.

"Probably all of us can identify with those moments in our lives," says CEO Kat Osborn, "where if it hadn’t been for a good friend, neighbour, aunt or grandparent helping out, our stories might look different. Every one of us needs to feel seen, understood and valued, to have someone say ‘you are doing a great job’ or ‘I hear you, it’s really hard but I will stand alongside you’ and people who can offer really simple practical support that every family needs. The difference that this can make for a family is so significant."

Who Safe Families Work With

Nearly all the families supported by the charity have been referred by local authorities, schools or churches. Some may be at the ‘early help’ stage, so just beginning to struggle, or right up to the edge of care, meaning that the children could be removed, but with more support the family could stay together.

Safe Families partner with local authorities and other partners such as school groups, Healthcare Trusts in Northern Ireland or Foodbanks who connect Safe Families with families who need that additional support network.

Working with Churches

Safe Families has trained over 8,000 volunteers from nearly 1,500 churches and community groups.

CEO Kat Osborn says: "Safe Families can help churches who don’t know where the families are. We’re able to bridge the gap between local authorities and churches, doing a bit of the language translation and giving the local authority confidence in the role volunteers can play.

We can provide churches with confidence that robust safeguarding, support and administration is in place, enabling the Church to do what the Church was born to do.

We’re made in the image of a God who loves unconditionally. Loving the widow, the orphan and the poor is Jesus’ identity, and it’s what we’re called to do."’

Volunteers are of any faith or none, but the charity’s proactive recruitment is through the Christian Church, because such work is ‘in the DNA’ of the Church.


There are various ways for supporters to get involved including:


Lots of supporters pray regularly for families, volunteers and the general work of Safe Families.


Some people choose to partner with Safe Families by becoming financial supporters or by donating resources.


Volunteers get alongside someone in their community who needs support. This could be anything from meeting for a chat to hosting a child overnight.


Safe Families is funded by a combination of donations from individuals, churches, businesses and grants, and contracts with partners such as local authorities.

What Safe Families Offers

Alongside connecting churches and volunteers with families, Safe Families recently created a free online small group resource, called the Belonging Course. This course gives practical tools on how to help others feel seen, heard and understood, and how to do so in a way that protects your own boundaries and wellbeing.

In a culture where loneliness is rife, this course helps people recognise the scale of loneliness across our nation, understand it and respond to it.


Safe Families also offers a selection of free training and events designed to help volunteers who support children and families, and equip the wider church, including:

Autism Spectrum Disorder Training

Trauma-Informed Support: A Therapeutic Parenting Approach

Risks Outside The Home, supporting young people and their families at risk of extra-familial harm.

You can book into any of these by visiting: safefamilies.uk/training

Our Shared Vision

Throughout the last 10 years, Safe Families and Home for Good have consistently found ways to collaborate and it’s easy to see why.

By merging, both charities can help meet the life cycle needs of children across the UK and together achieve so much more. CEO, Tania Bright explains: "Because of these shared goals and beliefs, Home for Good and Safe Families have already been working closely together for many years. This has looked different at different times, but in the last couple of years, this collaboration has gone from strength to strength and we see this merger as a natural next step for the partnership.

Together, therefore, we felt we can focus on both ‘top of the cliff’ (prevention at an early stage before families hit crisis point) and ‘bottom of the cliff’ (short, mid, long term intervention through fostering, adoption and supported lodgings) both preventing children going into care and yet, when sadly they do and still yet will, we will find outstanding homes and a tribe for them to be loved within."

If you want to find out more about the heart behind the merger, Tarn’s blog shares more or can find out more about Safe Families at safefamilies.uk or by joining the Information Sessions at https://safefamilies.uk/infosessions;

Date published:
4th July 2024


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