Between Families – October 2021

Happy (Socially-Distanced) Halloween!

It’s October and fall is finally in the air after a long, hot summer. While last year’s Halloween did not involve much Trick-or-Treating due to COVID-19, this year there is hope that your children will be able to ring doorbells, say Boo, and get some treats. Here are a few tips for a safe, happy, socially-distanced Halloween.

Want to give out candy, but don’t want the kiddos to worry about getting too close? Use a long PVC pipe or plastic tube!  Prop the pipe onto a lawn or kitchen chair. Have your latest monster hold their bag under the lower end of the pipe, drop the candy in the top and bingo! Candy delivered from a safe distance.

Worried about all the little fingers that have touched those doorbells? Consider sitting on the porch in a comfortable chair to hand out treats to all the kids. You eliminate bell ringing or door knocking – and you just might get a chance to meet some new neighbors and make friends.

You can also keep that safe space around the kids by using a grabber tool. While originally designed to assist the elderly in reaching for items, these grabbers are great for handing out bags of treats – or grasping the treat from a neighbor. They are inexpensive and can even be incorporated into your costume – robot arm, anyone?

Using these tricks and tips can help keep Halloween safe for your children, you and your neighbors. Remember – keep your distance, take hand sanitizer with you and have a great Trick or Treat 2021!

Kansas Care Provider of the Month

Chet Van Sickle and Lakesha Rogala received their foster care license in September 2020. They decided to be foster parents to help older boys that are more challenging to place in foster homes. Chet and Lakesha have provided a loving and nurturing home environment for all the children in their home. Chet and Lakesha go above and beyond for any child placed in their home. The Van Sickle/Rogala family enjoys spending quality time together. Since Chet and Lakesha have been fostering, they have overcome numerous obstacles, countless appointments, never-ending documentation and lots of travel time, but they do it without hesitation.

Kansas News

Beginning December 30, TFI, in partnership with DCF, will launch Placement Stability Team Decision Making meetings (TDMs). These meetings provide the opportunity for you and all those involved in the child’s case to discuss tension or challenges in the placement relationship as they arise, to advocate for your needs and the needs of children in your home or facility and to access the support needed to maintain the placement. TDMs are also held to create a peaceful transition if there is an opportunity for a child to move to a relative or lower level of care.

Team Decision Making is a collaborative method for making the best placement-related decisions for children, as it creates or strengthens a foundation for family engagement. Designed to make high-quality decisions that promote wellbeing, safety and stability, TDM develops specific, individualized and appropriate responses when considering a placement change. This transparent approach gives the youth and all those involved the opportunity to understand and support plans to strengthen foster and relative placements and to ease transitions for children when they must take place.

The child’s case manager will schedule a TDM any time the team learns of tension or instability in a placement, so that supports can be implemented as quickly as possible. A TDM brings together a diverse group, including therapists, school personnel, case workers, foster care workers, relative/kinship workers, the caregiver, and the child (over the age of 10) to discuss the best way to support the child and the caregiver and to identify actions, services and supports that will allow the child and the placement relationship to thrive. These meetings will occur in person, when feasible, and will be led by a trained facilitator.

As a member of the child’s team, any time you have concerns regarding a child you are working with you are encouraged to collaborate to get a TDM scheduled. To best prepare for a TDM we encourage the child’s support system come prepared to discuss the following questions:

·  What do you believe is the issue or challenge?

·  What immediate supports could help placement be maintained?

·  What ongoing services or resources does this child need to be successful?

·  Is there information we could obtain that would be helpful?

·  What strategies or services have been tried or worked in the past?

We have been working closely with DCF and Evident Change, a national nonprofit, to bring TDM to our agency. We are excited to provide this additional layer of support to you and families ensure success for every child. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your assigned TFI worker.

Oklahoma Care Provider of the Month

Kenneth and Diana Findley started serving youth in foster care in 1986, when they were in their 30’s and living in California. They have fostered more than 200 children across 35 years. They have adopted five of their foster children. The Findley’s moved to Oklahoma in 2009 where they took a few years off from fostering, but then heard about TFI in 2012 and wanted to re-open their home. They currently are fostering three little girls and have two girls they adopted who are still in the home, one who is getting ready to go off to college. The Findley’s are not ready to slow down at all. They stated they have fostered every type of child you can think off, except twins. Mr. and Mrs. Findley would still love to be able to foster and adopt a set of twins. When asked why they foster, they said they just love children and could never imagine having an empty home.

Oklahoma News

DID YOU KNOW?

All TFI Foster Homes will still be issued a $500 referral incentive for any home they refer to TFI that becomes a certified/licensed foster home. Once the family is certified, the finance department will mail a referral incentive check to the family within a 14-day period.

To become eligible to be a TFI Ambassador, the following objectives must be achieved:
*The Foster Home must be a currently certified/licensed Foster Home and in good standing. Once the family has made two foster family referrals, which has resulted in certification/licensure with TFI, the family will have achieved their next Ambassador level. The family will receive the $500 referral incentive associated with the referred family and receive a membership card stating the next level they have achieved.

The Foster Home Ambassador Program will have the following levels within the program:
Silver, Gold, Diamond and Platinum (Visit our website for more information on each level) These levels will be ongoing and will not start over each calendar year. For instance, once a family has achieved their Silver status, they will remain on that status until they move up to the gold status or their home is closed and they are no longer a TFI Foster Home.

Texas Care Provider of the Month

Augustine and Tammy Lopez are a TFI licensed home currently providing care for a kinship placement. The Lopez home is grounded in their traditional Hispanic upbringing, Native American roots and deep spiritual faith. Focusing on love, patience, offering of choices, extracurricular activities, and quality time as priorities in their parenting, they seek to build a trusting bond with the child they serve. The Lopez family embraces the support and enjoys hosting a monthly barbecue get-together for local extended family and friends. They also enjoy engaging in activities of the child’s choice, currently active in soccer, and guiding him as he assists with the care of the family’s small farm of animals that includes chickens, goats, ducks, a rabbit, dog, and horse. We are proud to be partnered with the Lopez family in helping meet the needs of children in Texas.

Nebraska News

In July 2021, TFI expanded the services offered to families in the Lincoln, Nebraska area. Supervised visits and family support services are provided by foster care worker, Tiffany Mullison.

Showcasing the newly opened office, families enjoy the visitation room in central Lincoln. Mullison can provide transportation to and from the supervised visitation for families with transportation barriers. Thanks to generous donations, the visitation room is full of age-appropriate books, toys and crafts for families. The kitchenette area is available for families to prepare snacks and meals. Supervised visitation and family support services are a critical component of permanency and reunification for children in foster care.

Families can connect with each other in person, seated at the small round table, area rug or couch. Having a visitation room sets TFI apart from other child-serving agencies. The office is within walking distance to a city park and large shopping mall.

Family Support is working directly with parents toward the attainment of goals set by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. This includes in-person contact with a parent and may also include services such as: helping a parent apply for food assistance, housing, Medicaid, job training and budget development. The TFI office is regularly used for family support, as the large conference table allows parents to socially distance and have room to lay out all their paperwork. Many parents do not have access to a computer or printer, and parents find that meeting in the office truly meets their needs. Mullison also meets with parents for Family Support at the parent’s worksite during the parent’s lunch break, at treatment centers or at the parent’s residence.

Training Corner

Building Attachment Through Play

Attachment is an important part of child development and provides a foundation for children to learn how to trust others and build healthy relationships. To become securely attached, children need a dependable adult who responds to their needs. One simple way to help a child build trust, security and attachment is through play. Playful activities can reduce stress, strengthen attachment and solve behavior problems, while bringing laughter and joy to you and the child.

Often children who come from hard places have not been able to form secure attachments due to the abuse and neglect that occurred in their biological home, therefore foster parents need to create conditions that re-establish security. Attachment play is a special kind of play that is designed to promote healing during difficult times in a child’s life.

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 October

Recruitment Spotlight

Fall has officially started, which means many of us will be spending evenings and weekends at school events. Whether it’s a football or volleyball game, theatre or musical event, we will be interacting with all kinds of new people and families during these activities. I’d like to challenge you to use this time spent sitting in the bleachers and/or auditoriums to help spread awareness about the need for foster homes. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here in no time, and we need more homes to keep the children in care placed within their own local communities. Thank you all for everything you do and have a fun and safe Halloween!

Curtis Anderson
Recruitment Supervisor

Fund Development

Our Blues, Brews, and Bites Event at Ward Meade Park in Topeka, Kansas, was a huge success! We had live music, food trucks, cornhole games and a silent auction. It was an amazing event and we can’t thank our sponsors, volunteers and those who came out to support kids in care enough! It was a fun way to raise money for our kids!

Our Annual Tee off Fore Children Golf Tournament was October 7 at Firekeeper in Mayetta, Kansas. We have 24 teams! This is our largest fundraiser of the year, and we were excited to spend the day with all of our corporate sponsors who are passionate about helping the kids and playing a good round of golf.

Be watching for the next Golf Ball Drop! This is a great way to raise money to buy Christmas gifts for the children! Remember, the money you bring in stays in your area!

When you start your holiday shopping, please remember to sign into Amazon Smiles. TFI gets a percentage back and it doesn’t cost you anything!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any contacts, questions, or fun stories of generosity to share at 785.213.6161 or at 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 Gaven Thompson and Nikki McDaniel. 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 October to accept your prize.

Happy Anniversary

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

11 Years
Murdice Sims

10 Years
Robert & Rita Vredenburg

5 Years
Stoney Tate & Angelia Rowland
Nathan & Amanda Jones
Adam & Kristina Nofsinger

1 Year 
Daniel & Roxie Drawdy
Jeffery & Mary Gann
Alissa Patterson
Robert Bowman-Bekemeyer & Amy Bekemeyer
Daniel & Katie Galvan
Chelsey Brodie
Allen & Patricia Sweigart
Daniel & Melisa Coberley
Robert & Michelle Emerich
Justin & Nichole Eagle
Jeremy & Beverly Moore
Teresa Gardner & Linda Montgomery
Marcus & Nina Mcfall
Ruiky & Stephanie Vargas
Justin & Sara Friesen

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.