TFI staff, foster parents strive to reunify local family in Topeka, Kan.
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - TFI staff and foster parents worked diligently to reunify a local family in Topeka, Kan.
TFI said the safety and well-being of Kansas children are of the utmost importance. TFI, Foster Care Case Management provider for the Kansas Department for Children and Families works diligently each day to strengthen children and families and meet the needs of foster children in a 26-county area covering southeast and south-central Kansas.
TFI said helping vulnerable children and families oftentimes takes a village. This was recently demonstrated by the collaboration and dedication of TFI staff, foster parents, and a biological parent.
TFI said Eve came into TFI’s care at one-month-old with medical needs and was placed with foster parents Wayne and Kassie. Wayne and Kassie embodied both the beauty and difficulty of being a foster parent. They took excellent care of Eve, but they also worked hard in partnership with her biological mother to help her learn and understand how to be a mother to a small child with medical needs.
The foster parents took in a special needs infant and cared for her through the subsequent year while supporting the biological parent as the time for reintegration drew closer. At the same time, Eve’s mother was working hard at her reintegration tasks, using the services she was introduced to, and learning to live on her own as a single parent.
The foster family included Eve’s mom and maternal grandmother in dining out, medical appointments, and other activities. Together with the case team, the foster family decided that one of the best ways they could help Eve’s mother get used to being a full-time mother was to have her stay overnight at their home to observe how they care for her at all times of the day or night. This occurred several times and helped the young mother develop more confidence in her ability to take care of a young child.
Eve was reintegrated with her mother just before the holidays as a result of her mother’s commitment to learning, her foster parents’ commitment to their success, and the support of the team in their efforts to work together.
TFI said this is one example of how TFI works diligently to best serve Kansas children and their families. The work TFI does in partnership with DCF and other community stakeholders has made a significant difference for the community’s children and families. Below are a few additional key outcomes TFI has recently seen.
TFI said keeping siblings together is one key outcome.
While many states are seeing a decrease in siblings being placed together, TFI has seen an increase in youth being placed with at least one sibling from 73% statewide in fiscal year 2019 to 80% in area 4 and 75% in area 8. This serves as a protective factor for youth and promotes social-emotional and academic development for youth.
TFI said increasing kinship placements is a key outcome.
TFI said they are leaders when it comes to providing safe relative and kinship placements. There has been a significant increase in children being placed with a relative or kinship provider. In fiscal year 2019 statewide, only 32.5% of children in out-of-home care were placed with a relative or kinship provider. Currently, 48% of youth in Area 4 and 50% in Area 8 are placed with kin. The current statewide performance is 44%.
TFI said placement stability is another key outcome.
TFI said they are committed to reducing the number of placements for youth in out-of-home care. Areas 4 and 8 boast significantly lower placement moves per the federal performance measure, compared to the current statewide average, resulting in one or two less moves per youth. Less placements means stability and more timely permanencies for the youth they serve.
TFI shared additional outcomes.
- Childhood safety is their top priority. TFI has worked diligently to improve safety for the youth they serve in Areas 4 and 8. For area 4, TFI has maintained 2.13 victimizations, compared to the statewide average of 3.42 victimizations (measured by confirmed allegations of abuse & neglect, per 100,000 days in care). In Area 8, TFI has brought down the victimizations by over 5 points during the past year, from 8.98 to 3.7. The national average of victimizations is 9.2.
- TFI recognizes the value of connection and consistent contact between their staff and youth as it leads to more timely permanency. TFI has been able to maintain and often exceed the performance standard of 95% for face-to-face contact, with youth at 96.7% for area 4, and 98.5% for area 8. Additionally, 90% or more of these contacts occurring with the residence compared to the 50% performance standard.
- TFI strives to ensure every child is placed in a safe and secure environment and has the lowest runaway rate in Kansas, reflecting only 10% of youth missing from placement in the state are TFI youth. Additionally, TFI has the lowest number of incidents of youth without a placement over the past year.
- TFI is dedicated to youth reaching academic success, and they know educational continuity and grade promotion contributes to that goal. Areas 4 (32.8%) and 8 (25.5%) are leaders in keeping youth in the same school compared to the statewide average of 23.9%. They are also excelling in promoting youth to the next grade level at 94.4% (area 4) and 90.6% (area 8) compared to the goal of 70% and the statewide average of 90.6%.
TFI said they remain committed to helping create stronger children and families and brighter, healthier communities. Kansans can help TFI keep children close to home in their local communities. To learn more about TFI or about how Kansans can make a difference in the life of a child by becoming a foster parent, visit www.tfifamily.org.
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