About Our Chapter
We currently have over 60 active volunteer Host Families and Family Friends serving in the South and Southwest Suburbs who are supported by a team of volunteers who provide services of coaching, respite, and transportation. In addition, volunteers provide tangible items such as diapers, car seats or meals to those that are hosting children.
Our churches play a significant role in recruiting and supporting their people to serve and reach out to parents who are in a crisis situation. Churches of all sizes and various denominational or non-denominational backgrounds are active partners with Safe Families for Children.
Our volunteers come from the smallest to largest congregations, as all followers of Jesus are awakening to the urgent need of struggling families in our own cities and towns.
Although our amazing volunteers are the ones who take the movement of Safe Families for Children into the community, they are supported by a professional staff. Our staff passionately invest their lives in engaging churches, building the base of volunteers, transitioning children, family coach supervision, vetting and training volunteers and so much more.
Rebecca MacDougall, LCSW
Director, Bethany Christian Services - Chicago
Rebecca is has a passion for helping families and it was her connections with Lydia that brought SFFC to the South Suburbs. She has been working with Birth and Adoptive families for over 30 years and has personally facilitated more than 400 adoptions. She played a key role in developing education and mediation in open adoption, in an adoption agency and in the community. Rebecca has handled many types of adoption cases: domestic, international, interstate, and special needs. She is a frequent speaker on issues of adoption including infertility, openness, Transracial adoption, and Seeing God in Adoption. Rebecca received her B.A. degree from Bethel University in 1978 and her Master of Social Work from Jane Addams College of Social Work in 1983. She and her husband Wayne are the parents of three children, who joined their family through adoption and the grandparents of two adorable children. Their family has had experience as foster parents and with open adoption, transracial adoption, and sibling adoption.
Rebecca has been the Director of Bethany Christian Services of Chicago since August, 2010.
Melissa Dykema, BS
Coordinator, Safe Families for Children
Melissa Dykema has been employed at Bethany since January, 2011. She graduated from Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky in 1995 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. She has been employed as a school teacher, homemaker and homeschool teacher to her family of four boys and one girl. Melissa and her husband Chip felt God’s call to open their home to vulnerable children in 2009 with Safe Families Chicago before she came on staff to begin the partnership with the Chicago Chapter in 2011. She has a passion for helping families, both placing parents and hosting parents, succeed in their role.
Kara started at Bethany Safe Families as a Family Coach in May 2019. She has a degree in Social Work and has a variety of experience in the field. Kara has two children and strong family roots. She loves that she gets to work alongside of parents and families through Safe Families!