About Our Chapter
We are currently recruiting volunteers to be coaches and family friends. We have trained over 275 volunteers at our live trainings in NYC. We currently have 60 approved volunteers. The vetting process includes an application, 3 references, 3 background checks (FBI and NY State fingerprinting, child abuse clearance).
Church partnerships are the foundation of our ministry to serve families in crisis. We have 19 congregations fully committed to be a Safe Families church, and are continually seeking to partner with more churches. Our current churches are from Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx. We are praying for church partnerships in all 5 boroughs.
Safe families is a volunteer-driven ministry. Our volunteers will be doing the most significant work of serving families in need. In addition to our team of volunteers, we have a volunteer leadership team that serves to grow the Safe Families movement in NYC. This leadership team is composed of 4 separate teams: prayer, church engagement, agency engagement and fundraising. We currently have three part-time staff members. Laura Galt began as the leader of the launch team in April of 2015 and became the NYC Chapter Coordinator in June of 2016. Emily Cowan was hired October 2016 as the intake and family coach supervisor. Jamie Knauss has volunteered with Safe Families from the beginning, and in December 2017 took on a more formal role as our Church Engagement Coordinator for upper Manhattan and the Bronx.
Laura Galt, NYC Chapter Coordinator
Laura has lived in Brooklyn, NY for 10 years with her husband and 4 children. Her family has temporarily hosted several children from her block when they were in crisis, including respite foster care. These experiences led to her passion to lead a team to start Safe Families in NYC.
Emily Cowan, Intake and Family Coach Supervisor
Emily lives in Brooklyn, NY with her quirky, bearded, artist husband and her ninja aspiring 6-year-old. Hospitality, to friend and stranger, has always been central to how they do life. Since marriage, Ben and Emily have intentionally pursued family-like relationships with others; sharing homes, hosting guests and welcoming all at their dinner table. Emily graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a desire to love God and serve people. After a year of youth ministry in England, Emily returned to Chicago to pursue a Master of Social Work where her heart for justice and reconciliation took deep root. Since then, she’s worked with youth and at risk populations in Chicago, Indiana, and Brooklyn. For her, Safe Families for Children is the perfect union of ministry and justice.
Jamie Knauss, Church Engagement Coordinator for Upper Manhattan and the Bronx
Jamie and her husband Rob, moved to Manhattan in 2014 from L.A. where they raised their 4 now-adult children. Jamie is grateful for the opportunity Safe Families provides to draw on her experiences as a pediatrician. She is excited to be part of an endeavor that helps us all better understand God's powerful and inclusive love as we walk with families in NYC who are striving to love and care well for their children but are overwhelmed by hardship, isolation and injustice.