Between Families – November 2020

Being a Foster Parent During the Holidays

As foster parents, it can sometimes be easy to understand why the holidays would be difficult for foster children. While these children are in a safe, stable environment for the holidays, many of their childhoods were not filled with gifts and celebration. Providing a positive, open environment this season can promote positive change for these youth that will last throughout their lives. It is also important to remember some foster children did experience positive holidays with their biological families and being a new house with new individuals can be intimidating and stressful.

Here are steps you can take to help children feel more comfortable this holiday season:

Have a discussion with your child.
Discuss the holidays with the youth and speak to them about past traditions they experienced and let them know about your family traditions. The more you get to know the youth and the more they learn about you, the more comfortable they will feel. Discuss your holiday plans with the child and ensure they feel comfortable. Also ask the child about any of their past traditions (how many people attended their celebrations? Who from their family attended? What roles did each person play?). Add these traditions to your family traditions to make them feel accepted.

Have a discussion with your family and friends.
Let your friends/family know what to expect; if the child is feeling anxious for the upcoming holidays, let your family/friends know what to expect to help them be better equipped. For example, if relatives purchase gifts for biological children, provide ideas for presents for the foster child by letting them know what his or her interests and hobbies are.
 
Help the child stay in touch with family members. 
If your child is spending the holidays away from parents or siblings, it can make the holiday season much worse. Ask the child who they would like contact with, even if it’s via phone/text, and if there are no safety restrictions allowing contact between the child and these family members, advocate on behalf of the child to ensure they happen. Allowing youth to stay in touch with relatives and friends from old schools or neighborhoods will allow the child to stay connected and know their friends/family are safe.

If the child shows grief or sadness, don’t be upset.
If the child shows these emotions, do not take it personal. It is normal for a foster child to feel emotions similar to these and he/she may even act out or have an increase of negative behaviors during the holiday season. Be patient and understanding with the child – this is likely how the child is coping with the loss of family/friends during the holiday season. You can help by being positive and understanding and keeping a line of open communication with the child. Providing a safe, healthy, and stable home for the child is one of the greatest gifts they will receive this holiday season!

TFI Foster Family Portal

Have you heard? We have an app for YOU! You can find the portal online at https://fosterfamilyportal.com/. You can also find it in the Apple App Store and on Google Play! We hope you take the time to download it today. If you have any questions about the app, please contact your foster care worker!

Thank you for opening up your hearts and homes to children in need. TFI is so grateful for your compassion and dedication to children and families. We hope you take the time to download the app today!

Kansas Care Provider of the Month

Matthew and Erin Crank go above and beyond to make sure the children in their home are taken care of. They put all their energy and love into the children they have by ensuring they are receiving the best services available to them, regardless if they have to drive to see a specialist. They are very active with the school, ensuring the children stay on track with their educational needs, as well as behaviorally. They ask questions about anything and always want to make sure they are doing anything they can to advocate and communicate with their worker and the case teams. Congrats, Matthew and Erin! We appreciate you.

Oklahoma Care Provider of the Month

The Aragons have had many placements in their home and in the past year have been doing respite for TFI families. The family has been proactive in building relationships with biological parents. Brandi Aragon has helped facilitate weekly family visits and phone calls between children and parents. She has also acted as a source of support and has been a mentor to the biological parents. Brandi and Adam Aragon work with DHS and transporting children to and from visits when needed. Any time the birth parents live in another town or city, they will transfer children halfway to the agreed meeting point. Brandi is good about working with the DHS workers to make sure that children are able to have family visits whenever possible. Brandi and Adam have worked with both biological parents and extended family to make sure children stay connected. The Aragon family understands the importance of visits and helping speed up the reintegration process. Thanks to the Aragon family for all they do!

Oklahoma News

TFI has signed contracts for the Therapeutic Foster Care Program with a start date of 10/1/2020. We are in the process of hiring a therapist to provide services in the home to include individual and family counseling/therapy. We are also identifying current TFI families who are interested in providing therapeutic foster care services and those families will be completing additional training to meet the requirements of TFC. If you are interested in providing TFC level of care or would like more information please email me at [email protected]. If you currently have children placed in your home, there would be no disruption to their placement.

– Catherine Mure, Director

Training Corner

The Importance of Getting Outside

With the current times and many children participating in online schooling it is important to have children play outside. Many children have been required to be in front of computer screens for long periods of time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. Now, more than ever, we need to remind our children to get up and play outside when they can.

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

Want More Training Opportunities?

Click below to learn about upcoming trainings available to you in November and December.

Recruitment Spotlight

What a great time to be a TFI foster Family. As we continue to navigate our way though this pandemic, our TFI foster families stay committed to providing excellent care. However, we need YOU now more than ever! We need you to share your foster experiences with your friends, family and co-workers. We need to let families know that even during this time of crisis in our country, we still need foster parents.

As always, you will receive a referral incentive based on your level in our TFI Ambassador program and gain entries into our drawing at the end of the year.  Please get the word out about the need for foster parents.  Have them contact us at 833-7FOSTER and we will help them get started on their journey to becoming a TFI foster family!

Jason Cecil
Director of Regional Recruitment

Fund Development

We hope your fall has started off well! Something that’s been on our minds through the COVID-19 pandemic has been a particular challenge – not being able to be together in our communities. Our mission is that we are “devoted to the strength of family” and we recognize that because of the challenges we’re facing, we’re often not able to be together in the ways we usually are.

But we have a cool story to share about one community and how it overcame this limitation. We had our annual “Golf Ball Drop” earlier this fall and one of our staff, Erin Felzke, shared about the ball drop on her social media. And boy, did her community respond. The good people in Leavenworth County in Kansas responded overwhelmingly to her invitation and a dozen people raised more than $800 for foster kids in Leavenworth County! It was nice to see that even with COVID-19 restrictions in place, communities were still able to find a way to meet each other’s needs.

Be on the lookout, we’re putting together a “Black Friday/Cyber Monday” Silent Auction to do some of your Christmas shopping with us.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you have any contacts, questions, or fun stories of generosity. Thanks for all you do!

Events & Volunteer Coordinator: Libby Hayden | 785-294-6606 | [email protected]
Oklahoma/Texas: Steven Mandeville | 918-728-3378 | [email protected] 
Kansas/Nebraska: Sheila Kearney | 785-213-6161 | [email protected] 

Happy Anniversary

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

20 Years
Everett & Debra Carrell

11 Years
Holly & Denita Baker

8 Years
Peggy Crawford
Daniel & Shannon Woods
Henri Jean Howie

6 Years
Anne Scalet & Dawn Quinton

1 Year 
Thomas & Donna “Michelle” Urdak
Virginia Winder
Aaron & Casey Gray
Michael & Tomi Moe
Gregory & Brenda Auld
Allen & Melissa “Missy” Kindel

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/i/community/community rewards or click the picture above and select TFI Family Services as your nonprofit to support youth in foster care.