Kindred Connections began their work in Central Oregon through the efforts of three women who individually wanted to help families who were at risk of losing their children into foster care due to a crisis such as homelessness, unemployment, hospitalization of a parent, domestic violence, incarceration, or substance abuse treatment.
Jana Hill, Becca Beal, and Chris Earwicker each sought out Safe Families for Children (SFFC,) a Chicago based Christian social service agency. SFFC’s program is successfully established in more than 25 states across the United. They partner with agencies, local churches, ministries, as well as community and government agencies to intervene in the lives of children and families that would otherwise be forgotten. It was this organization which brought together these Central Oregon women with a shared mission.
In hopes of starting an SFFC site in Central Oregon, they approached J Bar J Youth Services. Because J Bar J has spent several decades developing programs to help youth and children at those pivotal moments in their lives when their future might become brighter or diminished, SFFC was a natural fit. In 2015, Safe Families for Children Central Oregon began working to improve the outcomes of children with families in crisis.
The role of J Bar J Youth Services as the nonprofit partner is to evaluate volunteers, complete background checks, conduct home assessments, make determinations of hosting arrangements between families and Host Families. The church leadership provides all initial training, which J Bar J backs up with extended training and education. J Bar J also provides administrative support, such as accounting and human resources.
In 2018, the national organization made changes and began operating under a formal contract with Department of Human Services Child Welfare. Safe Families for Children of Central Oregon felt that continuing the informal relationship with DHS was a better option for the local program, and made the decision to end their affiliation with the national program. SFFFCCO became Kindred Connections, and remains committed to the program they began in our community. They serve many families who are working with Child Welfare and will continue to do so, as well as many families who are not.