DAVENPORT, Iowa - On any given day 428,000 children are in foster care but one local organization is working to reduce that number for every at risk child in the Quad Cities.
The organization helps families in crisis situations by placing children with a volunteer host family while the parent gets back on their feet.
Paige Madut, 35, and single mother of three has been through some hard years.
“I struggled with opioids and heroin for about 11 or 12 years. It was so hard and it's not something you want your kids to see,” said Madut. “I'm mom and dad so it’s a heavy responsibility.”
Last year, Madut decided to make a change. Originally from Wisconsin and lacking support, she didn’t know where to turn for help. Madut was referred to Safe Families through a counselor.
“If a parent chooses to place their child with safe families, its voluntary and they keep all their rights and can chose to have the child back at any time,” said Megan Hankner, Quad City area coordinator with Safe Families. “Our goal is to keep children out of foster care and always reunite them with their families. “While the child is with the host family we have staff working with their parents and making sure they have the support they need.”
95 percent of children placed in Safe Families return back home.
Madut’s daughter, Olivia, 11, stayed with a host family through Safe Families while Madut was in recovery.
“They [the host family] were really there for me when she was in treatment. It changed my life just knowing I had someone else there for me,” said Olivia.
“These people were amazing to me and to her. They are a part of our life now. I can't picture them not being there,” said Madut.
Now eight months sober, Madut has a job and her own apartment through the Salvation Army. Madut is working on going back to school and has plans to buy a house for her and her children.
Safe Families has about 75 volunteer host families around the Quad Cities.
24,426 children have been matched with a host family since Safe Families began in 2002.
4,606 families have also hosted children since that time.