Roughly 3,000 children in Marion\u202fCounty\u00a0are in need of\u00a0family services, whether it\u2019s through foster parents or relative\u202fcare.\u202f Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) helps license\u202ffoster\u202ffamilies,\u00a0and then\u202fprovides resources to them and children. SAFY fields\u202f100 calls each week requesting placement homes for these youth in need. The\u202fregional SAFY office\u00a0is\u00a0located in\u00a0Marion County and\u202fsupports families throughout\u00a0Central Indiana. Meli\u00a0Barber, therapeutic foster care program manager of SAFY,\u202fexplains how the organization helps children and families. What is the goal of\u202fSAFY? When we think about foster care, we\u2019re thinking about working\u202fwith children to establish permanency, safety and well-being. We have those three\u202fprimary\u202fgoals: We want our children to achieve\u202fpermanency as quickly as\u202fpossible, we want them to have a safe home environment, and we want our\u202fchildren to\u202fbe healthy, happy whole beings. We added one specific goal post and that\u2019s helping kids recover from trauma. How do you provide help to families? The biggest thing is we do is\u202fprovide training.\u202fMost importantly, SAFY creates a\u202fcommunity to support the foster family. It\u2019s important for foster\u202fparents to\u202fhave a community of people who\u202funderstand the unique joys and challenges that\u202fcome with that role. SAFY hosts a monthly \u201cFamily\u202fNight\u201d for\u00a0all of\u00a0our foster\u202fparents where we share a meal together, help foster parents meet their\u202fannual\u202ftraining requirements and give the\u202fparents time to talk and build community. We\u202falso provide supportive services to the families, helping our families navigate\u202fthe system and\u202funderstand the\u202fprocess. Someone from SAFY is on call 24\/7 so\u202fthat\u00a0families can always reach us if they need something any time of the day\u202for\u202fnight. Who can become a foster parent? Almost anyone over the age of 21.\u202fA\u202flot of our families have biological children.\u202fBiological children play a huge role. They are open members of\u202fthe\u202ffamily and can help make a foster child feel\u202fcomfortable in the home.\u202fIt\u202fcan help them draw the children out of their shell. We\u2019re about\u202fstrengthening\u202fthe whole family. The number of LGBT families continues to grow. I think that\u2019s a hallmark that distinguishes us.\u202f What is most rewarding\u202fabout being involved with SAFY? I just really love working with the children and seeing the\u202fway that they grow and change in the time they spend with their families.\u202fSeeing a child come in\u202fthe first day and be very quiet, not\u202fwanting to speak or\u202fplay, then going with that child in the same foster home weeks or months later\u202fand they\u2019re playing\u202fwith children in the home. That\u2019s really rewarding. Aside from becoming a\u202ffoster parent, are there other ways to help? Being a foster parent is not the right fit for everyone.\u202fWe\u2019re always looking for volunteers in the office, providing\u00a0childcare for the\u202ffamily nights\u00a0and\u202fdonations. Suitcases, clothing, games,\u202fart\u00a0supplies\u202fand monetary donations are also needed. Case workers will bring a game or a\u202fcraft to meet\u202fwith a child and help them feel comfortable. To donate,\u00a0visit the SAFY Indianapolis office or\u202fsafy.org.