Safe Families for Children now operating out of the Irving Avenue Strong Neighborhood House

United Way of Rock River Valley is proud to announce that the Strong Neighborhood House at 312 Irving Avenue in Rockford has a new occupant. Earlier this month, Safe Families for Children began working out of the house to serve the Ellis Heights neighborhood and all of Winnebago County.

Safe Families for Children’s mission is to host vulnerable children and support families in crisis with extended family-like support. They help build social support systems around families experiencing medical emergencies, unemployment, domestic violence, housing crisis, alcohol/drug rehabilitation, and more. By providing secure, temporary homes for children while their families get back on their feet, they keep families intact and build layers of community-based connections for those in need.

“With the help of our partnership with United Way and being welcomed into the Irving Avenue Strong Neighborhood House, Safe Families Rockford intends to deep dive into the community that we serve by becoming immersed in it,” said Bri Sears, Rockford Area Coordinator for Safe Families. “Completing referrals from the private upstairs offices, engaging in Family Friend and Mentoring relationships in the living room and kitchen, and providing opportunities for the Ellis Heights community to tell us what they would like to see happen to better serve their needs. We are eager to share this space with the Rockford community and look forward to its potential. We can't thank United Way enough for this opportunity; we could not serve as we do without their faith in Safe Families.”

“The support and resources that Safe Families provides will be such an incredible benefit to Ellis Heights and the entire community,” said Julie Bosma, President and CEO of United Way of Rock River Valley. “Safe Families has become part of our neighborhood, along with the Rockford Police Department and neighbors who are committed to making all areas of our city safe and inviting for all who live there.”

The Irving Avenue House is owned and maintained by ZION Development Corporation while United Way is responsible for the financial support and programming. Safe Families operates out of the house rent and utility free.

Learn more about Safe Families for Children and the services they provide by visiting