Between Families – June 2022

June is National Reunification Month

It’s June and that means National Family Reunification month is upon us. This is an exciting time to celebrate the safe healing of families and the opportunity for children to return home to the people who love them!

Foster parents are such an important part of the reunification process. By providing safe, short-term care to children who have been placed in out-of-home settings, foster parents allow birth and legal families the opportunity to concentrate on accomplishing their goals so their children might return home.

The peace of mind that foster parents provide to birth families comforts them knowing their children are going to be safe and loved while mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and others work hard to pave the way for these children to reunify with their loved ones permanently.

Programs such as the Texas Permanency Outcomes Project (TXPOP), the Kansas Intensive Permanency Project and others are forging new paths in bringing foster families, birth and legal families, Child Protective Services, the courts and other important people together so they can work closely with one another to keep lines of communication open and safely bring children home faster, allowing these children to spend less time in an out-of-home setting.

More work is being done to support foster parents when children leave their homes. Information is available via a tip sheet for Coping with Reunification Anxiety from the Wisconsin Coalition for Children, Youth, and Families and a report from the Children’s Bureau on Partnering With Relatives to promote reunification.

As foster families, birth and legal families, Child Protective Services, the Courts, and others continue to build stronger relationships, the fear and uncertainty of foster care can be transformed into a supportive, educational process that allows children to go home safely, quickly and permanently.

Oklahoma Care Provider of the Month

Lori and Ray North are foster parents that take initiative with their three foster children. They have worked for more than two years with their children to identify their needs, initiate services  and constantly work with them outside of therapy sessions to help them reach goals and developmental milestones. Two of their foster children have significant health issues requiring extra attention, multiple appointments and therapy throughout the week. Lori and Ray have been extremely flexible with their time and schedules. Lori has changed jobs to allow her to work from home. She doesn’t want the children to be in a daycare environment where they can be exposed to germs, because they have been hospitalized previously due to illnesses. Working remotely also allows her to work with them throughout the day on their therapy goals.

Lori and Ray also have two biological children and they plan and manage time to focus on each child in their home. They are resource parents who strive to bridge with biological relatives and offer themselves as mentors for the families. Lori and Ray have had several foster placements in their home, and they have always treated each of them the same as they do their two biological children. Lori and Ray always go above and beyond for any child in their home. TFI thanks both Lori and Ray for all they do for Oklahoma children!

Oklahoma News

The 2022 Summer Camps have been announced for Royal Kids Camp. This is open to all children currently in foster care. Click HERE for more information and to sign up.

Activities include breakfast club with puppets and stories, as well as arts and crafts where they make anything from bug houses to beaded necklaces. There will also be safe archery exercises, water gun battles, tea parties, drama nights with lots of music, and singing.

Boys and girls can expect to enjoy activities with lots of individual attention from counselors, as a 2:1 ratio is maintained at all camps. We have additional support staff to help with arts and crafts, archery, horseback riding, kayaking, swimming, and special games and events that include a dance for the girls and a talent show for the boys. Teams of photographers and photo album assemblers will capture images and help decorate.

Love Fosters Hope » Royal Family Kids Camp

CAMP INFORMATION AND DATES

  • Age 7-11 Co-ed Royal Family Kids Camp – July 25-29
  • Age 12-15 Girls Teen Reach Adventure Camp – June 15-18
  • Age 12-15 Boy’s Teen Reach Adventure Camp, TRAC – June 23-26
  • Age 16-19 Co-ed Bridge Camp – June 10-13

Texas Care Provider of the Month

Jathan and April Henslee of Weatherford, Texas, along with their daughter, opened their home and hearts last year to foster to adopt. The Henslee family shared their goal to adopt children in need of a forever family. They received their first placement November 2021, which was a sibling group of four, ages one through three years.

The family enjoys fun time together, swimming, attending community events and church. April shared they all look forward to their weekly game nights. The foster children have adjusted well to the home and rely on their foster parents when they encounter challenges and struggles. They each consistently express how much they love their new home and hope to remain with the Henslee’s forever. TFI is proud to be partnered with the Henslee family to provide care to Texas children in need!

Texas News

Right now Texas is focused on expanding our Professional Foster Care Program. Texas Family Initiative recently launched its first Professional Foster Care Home in Abilene, Texas. This home will serve high-needs children on a short-term basis while permanent homes are sought for them. This home is the first of it kind for Texas foster care. We could not be more excited!

Texas is now looking to expand these Professional Foster Care services into other parts of the state. We have recently submitted grant proposals seeking funding to add Professional Foster Care in the Lubbock/Texas Panhandle and Austin areas. Additionally, we will soon be submitting a grant proposal to add Professional Foster Care in the Dallas and Tyler areas, as well.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a professional foster parent for high-needs children, please reach out to Texas Family Initiative at 833-7FOSTER or email Senior Administrator Angela Nowell at anowell@tfifamily.org.

Training Corner

Understanding Trauma In Foster Children

Schylar Baber still has a vivid memory of the night he was taken from his mother. Officers arrived as he was getting ready for bed. They took him and his brother while his stepfather ran out the back door. It wasn’t long before he was separated from his brother as well. Baber spent the next 12 years in foster care before he aged out, but the trauma of that night would stay with him forever…

Read the article below, fill out the quiz and send to your worker for credit. 

Need Additional Training?

Check out these other training opportunities in June

Recruitment Spotlight

We have had some great events for our TFI foster parents as of late. We had a successful virtual foster parent retreat on May 31 and June 2. Families earned training hours, heard from captivating speakers and won some great prizes!

We also hosted foster parents at an exciting Day at the K Royals game on June 4.

For upcoming events, we are planning a community BBQ in Lawton, Oklahoma to be held in late June. We will send out announcements with details for this event and would love for our Oklahoma families to attend.

If you have questions about any of these events, feel free to contact your foster care worker or canderson@tfifamily.org.

Have a great month!
-The Recruitment Team

Fund Development

We had our inaugural Texas Family Initiative Golf Tournament on May 23 at the Timarron Country Club in Southlake, Texas! We had 64 golfers join us and raised more than $30,000 for local Texas kids in care. We want to thank our title sponsor, The Robert E. Miller Group, as well as all other sponsors, teams and volunteers who made this Texas fundraiser a success! We already can’t wait for next year!

Be on the lookout for details regarding our upcoming Blues, Brews & Bites Festival and our Kansas Golf Tournament. Both annual events will be held in Kansas this fall!

We are always looking for new partnerships with corporations to help with our fundraising in all of our states. Be sure to let us know if you are aware of any companies that give back to the community you live in! We love to talk with new people to find out if a partnership makes sense.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any contacts, questions or fun stories of generosity at 785-233-6161 or skearney@tfifamily.org.

Thanks for all you do!

Oklahoma/Texas: Steven Mandeville | 918-728-3378 | smandeville@tfifamily.org 
Kansas/Nebraska: Sheila Kearney | 785-213-6161 | skearney@tfifamily.org 
Events & Volunteer Coordinator: Libby Hayden | 785-294-6606 | ehayden@tfifamily.org

The winner of this month’s newsletter giveaway is Leisa Baird. To claim your $25 Amazon gift card, please email your foster care worker and tell them you won the giveaway. You must email your worker within the month of June to accept your prize.

Happy Anniversary

Thank you for opening your hearts and homes to children in need.

22 Years
Ronald & Lucretia Morey

10 Years
Marcella Harlan

5 Years
Benjamin & Kristin Duell

1 Year
Austin & MacKenzie Morgan
Tyler Shank & Taylor Brown
Erik & Saralicia Calderon
Johnathan & Sarah Durso
Elvia Prior
David & Laura Reynolds
Michael & Jaclyn Harrington
Diane Seaver
Emmett & Alma Woolf
Julia Wise-Sullivan
Charles & Melissa Owen
Traci Riner-Lindfors
Dereck & Lindsey Gordon
Daniel & Jane Maciejewski
Jarran “JD” Davis and Claudia Frazier
Clay & Katie Foster

Amazon Smile

Every time you make a purchase on Amazon, TFI Family Services can earn money and participating does NOT increase the price you pay for your purchases. Visit smile.amazon.com or click the picture above and select TFI Family Services to support youth in foster care.

Dillons Rewards

Every time you make a purchase at Dillons, TFI Family Services can earn money. Please visit dillons.com/communityrewards or click the picture above and select TFI Family Services as your nonprofit to support youth in foster care.