Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- There are superheros among us and angels among us. They are foster parents. But not just any foster parents. They are parents for SAFY or Specialized Alternative for Families and Youth.
For the past 20 years, Alga Canty-Smith has fostered children. More than 12 have passed through her doors and her loving arms.
Kim Karkkainen is fostering a 17 year old who also has a one-month old baby, "I'm 40 years old. Single no children. I want children in my life so I figured I would do it."
Alex Bernal, who works on Clark County's Gang Intervention Team, was once a troubled youth himself, "Someone saw something in me to help me change my life and I want to do the same for someone else."
They foster for different reasons but all of them went through SAFY, specialized alternatives for families and youth. Alga said, "I love SAFY because of the training, the respect that you have and the attention that it gives to you when you come in with problems."
What makes SAFY so different from other agencies is the screening process. SAFY's foster families are quite simply the best. They are carefully selected, highly trained, and supported every step of the way. Valerie Hicks is the SAFY state director, "We don't want foster parents not to be prepared for the things we know they are going to face."
The goal is to give these kids a safe place where they belong and are loved. Eventually, many of the kids do return to their families. Alex Bernal said that's all the more reason to pour into them while he's got them, "I only have a short period of time. So in that time, I want to give them manhood 101. This is what a father looks like."
SAFY offers a number of other programs too, including one designed to keep kids out of foster care and in their own homes and another program helps find permanent adoption homes for these kids.
Click here to get more information about all of the programs SAFY offers.