"Safe Families" program helps give kids a home when parents are in need

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. When families are in crisis, often time there is no place for kids to go.

Some of the baby necessities for when the Sextons watch younger children (Source: WVLT)

One global program is making it easier for parents who don't want to resort to foster care for their children.

"We've really enjoyed having kids in our home and helping people that just need a little step up," said Beth Sexton.

Five years ago, Sexton and her husband, Andy, decided to join Bethany Christian Services Safe Families program.

"When Beth first approached me about doing this I was not extremely fired up about it to begin with but it was something she really wanted to do and really had a heart for," Andy Sexton said.

The Sextons are a host family when parents are experiencing trauma like poverty, addiction recovery or unemployment. The couple hosts kids for weeks or months during an untimely situation.

"We had our first hosting about four and a half years ago and those little friends still, we still see them today," said Beth Sexton.

The goal is for the kids to end back up with their parents or legal guardians and 90% of the time they do.

"The Safe Families kids just kind of become part of our family for the time that they're here. And everybody kind of pitches in and helps out," explained Beth.

Andy and Beth have four children of their own.

"They've kind of helped out full throttle. Everybody kind of pitches in. Hold this baby while I do this. Or hold that baby while I get that done," said Beth Sexton.

But it takes a village.

"We are the feet on the ground, but it takes neighbors to help out. They send meals and clothes for the kids," explained Beth Sexton, "They will watch somebody, do some babysitting every now and then. Church helps out. They'll send formula or diapers if needed."

More than a hundred kids have called the Sexton's home their own.

"You can have a mission project right in your home every day," said Beth Sexton.

Everything the Sextons provide--including food, clothing and transportation--is out of pocket and through the help of donations.

If you are interested in getting involved learn more about the Safe Families program here.

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