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A great resource for foster parents as well as children can be located at This can be applied to all ages and there are many more topics to choose from on the website. This allows the parent as well as the child to engage in the development of the contract which can ensure more success for you as well as the child! They are Parent/Coach Child Contracts

Choose a topic each week for discussion during family meetings. Discuss these questions as a family and give each individual an opportunity to answer or provide input.

1. What is it that makes you special?
2. What is it about yourself that you are most proud of?
3. What special talents or abilities do you have?
4. Tell each family member what you appreciate most about them.

1. What does it mean to seek positive attention? Give examples.
2. What are some of the ways that YOU seek attention? Are these positive ways?
3. What are some new ways that you could seek positive attention?
4. How does it make you feel when nobody notices you seeking positive attention?

1. What does it mean to be responsible?
2. Name three things that you have done lately to demonstrate responsibility.
3. What can you do this week to show that you are being responsible?
4. How would things be different in your home if nobody was responsible?

1. How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you?
2. What are your goals for the future?
3. How would your parents describe you? your teacher? your friends? your enemies?
4. What makes you different from each family member? Similar to each family member?

Submitted by, Pam Richardson, LMSW Kansas Foster Care Director

Upcoming Events

Tee Off Fore Children Golf Classic!
A Benefit Tournament supporting The Scotty D. Memorial Foundation and TFI Kids Fund
September 22, 2017
Shawnee County Country Club
Topeka, KS
$75 per player
*Also a volunteer opportunity 🙂

Kansas News

Kansas Care Providers of the Month

Caleb and Julie Bennington have been foster parents for only two years but they have already had an impact on the lives of several children that they have taken into their home. Caleb and Julie have taken on some very challenging children and have done an amazing job with them. The Benningtons focus on the positives the children do have and try to build on those for success. They do a wonderful job of making sure the kids needs are met. Even going above and beyond for a child with medical needs. They are always willing to help out in an emergency or respite situation without much notice; and do it with a smile!

The family works hard to set good examples for the children, provide consistency and structure, yet take the time to do fun activities with the children.

Caleb and Julie are a great example of what a foster parent should be.

Thank you Caleb and Julie for all the time you give to the children, for making sure they have a stable loving environment, and that they feel part of a family.
– Peggy Stunkel

Between Families Recruitment Moment

The Foster Parent Ambassador program is close. Be looking in the next month for your TFI Foster Family Ambassador cards from your Foster Care Worker. This is going to be a really cool program for all of our TFI Families across all 4 states. Here is a synopsis of what you can expect.

The Foster Home Ambassador Program will have the following levels within the program:

Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Platinum

To achieve the above status in the Foster Home Ambassador Program the following criteria must be met:

Silver: Must have referred at least one family to TFI who has become a certified / licensed home with TFI. This referral must have been on or after January 1st, 2017.
Gold: Must have referred at least three potential families to TFI who have become certified / licensed home with TFI. These referrals must have been on or after January 1st, 2017
Diamond: Must have referred at least five potential families to TFI who have become certified / licensed home with TFI. These referrals must have been on or after January 1st, 2017
Platinum: Must have referred at least seven potential families to TFI who have become certified / licensed home with TFI. These referrals must have been on or after January 1st, 2017.

The families will receive the following rewards / bonuses associated with the level of the program they have achieved:

Silver: $500 referral incentive for every family referral to TFI that becomes licensed / certified, a TFI T-shirt for each Foster Parent that is in the foster home, and 1 entry into the $1,000 gift card at the end of the calendar year for one lucky Ambassador.

Gold: $500 referral incentive for every family referral to TFI that becomes licensed / certified, $50 gift card to a restaurant of their choice, 3 entries into the $1,000 gift card drawing at the end of the calendar year for one lucky Ambassador.

Diamond: $550 referral incentive for each family after their 5th referral who becomes a licensed / certified TFI Home, $100 gift card to a restaurant of their choice, 5 entries into the $1,000 gift card drawing at the end of the calendar year for one lucky Ambassador.

Platinum: $600 referral incentive for each family after their seventh referral who becomes a licensed / certified TFI home, $150 gift card to a restaurant of their choice, 7 entries into the $1,000 gift card drawing at the end of the calendar year for one lucky Ambassador.

Oklahoma News

In December 2016, a new federal law effecting foster children was passed, Every Student Succeeds Act. ESSA sets some requirements for the schools and child welfare. These include:

  1. The child is to be enrolled without delay by the school, regardless of any reason beyond an expulsion.
  2. Each school district is to have a Foster Care Point of Contact. This Point of contact will help you navigate the enrollment of the child. The schools are currently in the process of identifying those contacts.
  3. DHS is to complete a Best Interest Determination staffing to decide where a child should attend school when moving into a new foster home. The staffing documentation should be signed by you as the new foster parent for the child, as well as the school for the child, and the child welfare worker. This staffing asks the child’s team to discuss which school (their previous school, or the one in your area) will best meet the child’s needs, as well as develop a plan to ensure the success of the child in the school identified to be in the best interest of the child to attend. You are to receive a copy of this document when the child is placed into your home.

Oklahoma requires foster parents to transport students to their school of origin. Up to 15 miles is considered within the foster parents’ duty to ensure the student attends their school of origin. If you must transport beyond that distance, TFI can seek a difficulty of care rate to help defray the costs of this. Please notify your foster care worker and the child placing specialist if this is a need when a child is placed into your care.

Connections Compliment

Ty and Jessica Campbell & Family!

When taking in a set of twins, this family didn’t bat an eye when when it came to caring for them with their extensive medical issues. Jessica and Ty worked together to ensure the twins had the care and love they needed, often spending nights apart and away from the rest of the family to ensure someone was always at the hospital with them. They have since started fostering the sibling of the twins who also has some medical issues. The dedication of Ty and Jessica, and their 3 biological children (all under 10) has been extraordinary. It has been great to watch them come together as a family to help ensure everyone feels welcome, safe, and healthy!

Texas News

We are excited to notify you of news we recently received from OC-OK. Texas Family Initiative, LLC was named as one of their preferred providers, which means that those of you who take OC-OK kids are getting an increase in the daily rates! Effective September 1, 2017, the daily rates for the below levels of care are:

  • Standard: $27.07/day
  • Therapeutic: $57.86/day
  • Therapeutic II: $92.43/day

Therapeutic II is a new OC-OK Level of Care, which mirrors that of the DFPS Intense Level of Care.

The new rates for children who are DFPS placements (not OC-OK) were also effective on September 1, 2017, the daily rate for children with the below Levels of Care will be:

  • Basic $ 27.07/day
  • Moderate $47.37/day
  • Specialized $ 57.86/day
  • Intense $92.43/day

TFI is also very excited to welcome two new staff to our agency: Mary Huntzinger and Sherrell Survillion. Both are experienced in child welfare services. Mary will serve primarily Region 3B, and Sherrell will serve primarily Region 3. We welcome them both to our TFI family.

15 Years

John and Connie Wade

5 Years

Eric and Kammi Bean
Donna Craig
Clinton “Gene” and Mary “Margarita” Nance

1 Year

Matthew and Afton Dawson
Brian and Regina Archer
Bobby and Kimberlee McGee
Zachary George and Rodney Close
Jackie and Jazmine O’Kelley
Greg and Melissa Walker
Jameson Puckett and Rachel Sumner
Rigoberto “Rigo” and Shelby Aranda
Bobby and Jinna Rowland
Malia Smith
Cory and Carly Chesnut


TFI has the following grant funding available to assist foster children and foster families. Please speak with your foster care worker for more information:

Pritchett Trust: Funds available to foster children placed in Crawford County, KS for the purchase of musical instruments and music lessons.

September Training

Back to School Basic Safety Tips

School has begun for most children this year. Beginning a new school year can be an exciting and also a scary time for children and parents. Children may be excited and nervous about entering a new grade, possibly going to a new school, and meeting new teachers and students. Parents may be excited to have their children in school and away from home after a long summer! Parents may also be nervous about how their child will do in school, how he or she will get along with peers and teachers, and are they safe getting to and from school. With the thoughts of the new school year fresh in the minds of children and parents, this article will provide some basic school safety tips to help ease the transition into the new school year for both parents and children.

Children arrive at school in many different ways such as; walking, riding a bike, taking a bus, and being driven in a car. When walking to school, if a child is young or entering a new school, walk with the child to school until you are comfortable with them walking by themselves. Practice the route with your child. Make sure the child’s route to school is safe with well-trained adult crossing guards at intersections. Identify other children in the neighborhood with whom your child can walk to school. Be realistic about your child’s pedestrian skills. Young children can be impulsive and less cautious around traffic. Carefully consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without an adult. Always use public sidewalks and streets. Teach your children to recognize and obey safety signals, signs, and pavement markings. Teach your children to avoid talking to strangers. Teach children to get distance between themselves and anyone who tries to approach him or her. If a stranger does approach your child, make sure they know to immediately report the incident to school officials and to you. Teach your child to never get into a vehicle with anyone, even if they know them, without your permission. Teach children to go straight to school and straight home after school. Teach them not to go anywhere else without your permission.

If your child rides a school bus, keep these safety tips handy. Never step off the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop. Always board and exit at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building. Make a habit of arriving at the bus stop at least five minutes before the schedules arrival of the bus. When riding on the bus, make sure your child understands he or she must remain seated and keep their head and arms inside the bus at all times. If the bus is equipped with seat-belts, the child must wear them. Make sure your child walks where he or she can see the bus driver, and the bus driver can see them. Remind your child to look both ways before crossing the street as not everyone stops for buses as required by law.

Some children like to ride their bikes to school. There are basic safety rules to follow for bike riders. Make sure your child wears a bicycle helmet. Teach your child to ride on the right, the same direction as auto traffic. Have your children wear clothing that is bright and colorful so drivers can see them clearly. Teach your child hand signals. Teach your child to follow the traffic signs, signals, and pavement markings. Teach your child not to use iPods, mp3 players, or other music devices and to always pay attention to traffic.

Whether parents drive just their own children to school or utilize carpooling, there are safety tips for taking children to and from school. Make sure your child, and any child you are taking in a car pool, are securely strapped into their seatbelt and utilize appropriate child safety/ booster seats for their age. Have each child exit the car using the door on the curbside so they are not stepping into traffic. Do not leave the school until your child, or all those in the carpool, are safely inside the school building. Teens driving to and from school must wear seat belts, follow traffic laws, not use cell phones for talking, texting, etc., have a limited number of passengers, and make sure the teen learns to be aware of his or her surroundings and concentrate on their driving.

Backpacks are an essential school accessory for children. Backpacks are used to carry school supplies and books back and forth between home and school daily. However, backpacks can be harmful to a child if not used correctly. Backpacks can possibly cause shoulder or neck injuries, back pain, and muscle and joint strains. With this in mind, there are few safety tips for school back packs. Backpacks should have wide straps, padding in the back and shoulders, and should not weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of the child’s body weight. Never carry a backpack over one shoulder, using only one strap. Always wear a backpack using both shoulder straps. Use all of the compartments in the backpack to distribute the weight of the content more evenly. When placing items in a backpack; place the heavier items in first. The closer the heavier items are to a child’s back, the less strain it will cause.

Some other safety tips to keep in mind for children beginning this new school year are; talk to your children and reinforce rules about interactions with strangers and the danger potentials, as well as what to do when faced with danger. Make sure not to pack food for lunch or snacks that can spoil quickly. Talk to your child about bullies and bullying. Explain to them what to do if a bullying situation arises.

The preceding information consist of basic safety tips for parents and children to assist in making the transition back to school in a safe manner. This article provided important safety tips on traveling to and from school, some information on backpack safety, and some other basic safety tips. As mentioned previously, sending your child off to school is an exciting and scary time for you and your child. Having knowledge of these basic safety tips can help assist in easing the scary part of your child returning to school and allow parents and children focus more on the excitement! Please enjoy the 2017-2018 school year!


Please use a separate answer sheet for each parent completing this training.
Print name: ____________________________ Date: ___________________
Signature: ____________________________ License #: _________________
Please read the enclosed article and answer the following questions for a half-hour training credit. If more than one person wishes to receive credit, he/she must use a separate piece of paper and have their own signature and legal name on that page. To receive credit, please mail your answers in a timely manner to:
TFI Inc. Attn: Gayle Schwarzrock, 217 SE 4th Street Topeka , KS 66603

  1. Name three safety tips for children walking to and from school. 1.______________ 2._________________ 3._______________
  2. Name three safety tips for riding the school bus. 1.______________ 2._________________ 3._______________
  3. Name three safety tips for children riding bikes to and from school. 1.______________ 2._________________ 3._______________
  4. What kind of injuries can backpacks cause?
    1. Shoulder or neck Injuries
    2. Back pain
    3. Muscle and joint strains
    4. All of the above.
  5. Backpacks should not weigh more than _______ to ________ percent of the child’s body weight.