Foster Care Services

Kansas Foster Care Services

Starting the Foster Care Process

Pathway Family Services is licensed as a child-placing agency by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and provides several levels of foster care services.

A child is placed in the state’s care when a court determines the child’s home life is dangerous, inappropriate, unhealthy, or when the child’s behaviors cannot be managed at home. Many children have experienced lives of abuse and/or neglect.

Foster care parents open their homes and hearts to children who can not live with their parents, providing them with what every child should have…shelter, food, clothing, medical care, and the stability of a caring home. The ultimate goal of Foster Care is to resolve family conflicts or disruptions and return the child to his or her biological family.

If reintegration with the biological family proves impossible, children are often placed for adoption or if an older teen, prepared for adulthood through independent living.

Through the entire process, the Resource Foster parent works closely with the child’s biological family and child welfare professionals to ensure that the child has a chance to blossom as a healthy, well-adjusted member of the community.

Services that Foster Care Families Receive

  • 24 hour on-call support
  • Free, comprehensive initial and ongoing training specific to helping Juvenile Justice youth
  • Multi-media resource library
  • A nearby service location
  • Respite care
  • Professional and consistent personal Case Coordinator
  • Reimbursement payments up to $80 per day

Becoming a Resource Foster Parent

1. Starting the Process

To start the process, simply go to our online application and complete. A packet of information will be sent to you.

  • You must be 21 years old and have a permanent residence.
  • You must have an outside source of income.
  • You must have housing space to provide a separate bed for each foster child.
  • You must complete Partnering for Safety and Permanence—Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting (PS-MAPP) training. This is a free ten-week training course designed to help you make an informed decision about becoming a resource foster parent.
  • You need to provide three personal references.
  • You must pass Kansas Bureau of Investigation fingerprinting and Child Abuse Registry background checks.
  • Finally, your home will need to pass inspection by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. This is to ensure your home is safe and suitable for children.
  • You do not need to have previous parenting experience.

2. Training

Pathway Family Services offers one of the most comprehensive training programs of any child welfare agency in the state of Kansas to give their Resource Foster Parents the keys to be successful.

Resource Foster Care offers diverse, but rewarding challenges. Pathway Family Services, Inc. offers one of the most comprehensive training programs of any child welfare agency in the state of Kansas to give their Resource Foster parents the keys to be successful. Prior to being licensed, families receive training covering topics such as: feelings, behaviors, working with the system, identifying abuse, and understanding the legal aspects of Resource Foster parenting. Through the PS-MAPP course, biological parents and prospective Resource Foster parents are taught the fundamental basics of good parenting and what to expect as Resource Foster parents, while our Title IV-E training (co-sponsored with the Children’s Alliance of Kansas) ensures that our current Resource Foster parents receive the necessary assistance and accreditation. Continual educational opportunities are provided through our support system to Resource Foster Families.

Pathway Family Services along with TFI Family Services, Inc. also hosts and co-sponsors a number of local-based training seminars and presentations for the general public, seeking to educate communities on different aspects of good parenting, becoming a Resource Foster parent, child welfare and safety, and various other topics.

3. For More Information

The Need for Foster Parents

In Oklahoma, there are over 9,000 children placed into out of home placement.  There are less than 2,000 foster homes.  This disparity means that children from your community are being placed outside of their home community, or in shelters.

Children who are placed outside their home community in one day lose their parents, family, school friends, teachers, coaches, and sense of connection to their community.  They frequently miss school so they can have visits, or they don’t see family because they need to be in school.  This sense of loss is compounded when they cannot be placed with their brothers and sisters due to no one having enough room.

Foster parents are needed to take children of all ages.  While 76% of children in care are under the age of 10, the hardest to find placement for are teenagers.

Foster parents who are willing to take sibling sets of 3 or more are greatly needed.  Oklahoma needs over 400 families willing to take large sibling groups, according to DHS.

The Bridge Concept

An important role for foster parents is to work with (a concept known as “bridging”) the child’s birth family towards the goal of reunification, and if that goal fails, to commit to raise/parenting the child.

The foster parent helps children to maintain permanent connections with their birth family, while acting as a mentor for that family.  Foster care is a service provided to the child’s entire family.  Foster families come from the same community as the child, are willing to accept and agree to visitation and other types of contact with siblings, relatives, and other important people in the child’s life.

Bridging with the family helps children to achieve permanence more quickly while enabling them to maintain connections with those who are important in their lives.  This ability to maintain connections, and achieve permanence more quickly reduces the level of trauma children in out of home care experience.

As a foster family, you may be asked to:

  1. Provide temporary care, love, and nurturance to children while serving as a mentor to their parent. This could include actively helping the parent improve on their parenting abilities.  The foster parent assists in helping the children transition home, to a legal guardianship, or adoption by another family, while maintaining the children’s connections to their kin, culture and community.
  2. Serve as the legal guardian for children while maintaining the children’s connection to kin, culture, and community.
  3. Adopt the children while maintaining the children’s connection to kin, culture and community.

Foster Parents Contact with the Birth Family

DHS will determine through assessment what level of contact the child should have with the birth family.  Every effort is made to ensure that contact between the child’s birth family and the child and foster parents is safe and positive.   When possible, foster parents are encouraged to supervise visitation with the children, assist with transportation around visitation, and model appropriate behavior for the birth parents.  This may mean allowing the child to use the phone to talk to their parent, while the foster parent listens in, or spending time with the child and their parents at a local park.  When appropriate, some foster parents have allowed the parents to come into their home, and help them with bedtime routines.  Foster parents do have input into what level of contact they are comfortable with, and are encouraged to share any concerns they have regarding this contact with their TFI worker and the DHS worker.

Foster Care Application

We work hard to answer a potential Resource Foster Care Parent’s questions and inquiries in a timely and efficient manner. You are important to us! By filling out an application below, it will be sent straight to our Recruitment Specialist who will send an informational packet out to the family, usually within 48 hours. From the time the family receives this and sends back any additional material needed, our Recruitment Specialist will set up a PS-MAPP within 3-4 weeks. We will also follow up with a family within two weeks of your initial inquiry.

Please feel free to call us directly at any time with any questions you may have.
Pathway Family Services
ATTN: Recruitment Specialist
4101 SW Martin Drive
Topeka, KS 66609

Email [email protected]
Phone 877-810-8583

 

FAQs

What is a foster family?

DCF sometimes uses this phrase to refer to foster parents, or individuals who are willing to care for children through foster care, legal guardianship or adoption.

What is a foster home?

A foster home is a temporary home for children needing out of home care due to abuse or neglect. Foster families provide a safe and nurturing home and are committed to working with birth families to reunite children with parents.  In the event that a child does not return home, foster families may become the permanent caregiver for the child either through adoption or permanent guardianship.

What is adoption?

Adoption is the permanent placement option for children who have been in foster care who cannot return to their parents’ home. Children are legally free for adoption only after the court has terminated the parental rights of the birth parents.

Who are the children in Kansas DCF care, in foster care or awaiting adoption?

Children in Kansas state care range in age from 0 to 21 and frequently are part of a sibling group that must remain together. Some of these children have physical, mental or emotional disabilities ranging from mild to severe. The average age of a child in Kansas Foster Care is 9.3 years old.

Do I have to be married to be a foster parent?

You do not have to be married. Applicants may be married, single, legally separated, divorced, or in a domestic partnership.

Do I have to own my own home?

Foster parents do not have to own a home. In fact, many foster parents rent their place of residence. Foster families must have a stable and verifiable income.

What are the costs of becoming a foster care parent?

The training and licensure is provided at no charge. There are costs incurred in obtaining a physical. There may be upfront costs in ensuring that your home meets licensing standards by DCF.  In certain cases, TFI may be able to assist with some costs.

Do I have a choice in which children are placed into my home?

Families have the opportunity to determine their preference when making a decision regarding placement. TFI will tell you everything we know about a child when we contact you about making placement.  You may decline accepting placement of the child.  TFI is child focused and our goal is to find families who will meet the needs of the children in DCF custody.

What type of support services are provided after a child is placed in my home?

TFI provides a number of supports to ensure you have success with the children in your home.  Some of the ways that we may support you include regular contact with agency staff, respite (as appropriate), ongoing training, support groups, assistance in locating child care for foster children, home visits, team meetings, phone consultation, and a formal process for sharing your concerns.

How do we get paid the financial reimbursement, and who does it come from?

Foster parents are paid by TFI, and the payment is made on a monthly basis via direct deposit to your checking or savings account.

What are the monthly reimbursement rates for Family foster care?

The daily and monthly rates begin at the below rates.  The daily rate may be increased if the child meets specific criteria identified by the contracting agency.

Child’s age

0-18

Daily rate

$20.00

Monthly rate

$360.00

What are the age requirements to become a foster parent?

The minimum age is 21.  Regulations stipulate that the age of the foster parent and the oldest child be more than 5 years difference.

What are the training requirements for becoming a foster parent?

  1. Must complete 30 hours of MAPP Training (Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting).
  2. Applicants must 3 hours of First Aid Training (must be in person training)
  3. Applicants must complete Medication Administration and Universal precautions prior to licensure and renew each year.
  4. All foster parents must complete a minimum 8 hours of continuing in-service training per calendar year on subjects that promote their skills and interests as providers.

What is an Intensive/Intensive Plus foster home?

Intensive or Intensive Plus foster homes work with children with special behavioral needs through behavioral modification techniques in their home.   Intensive or Intensive Plus foster homes require additional intensive training above and beyond that of traditional foster homes.  There must be at least one trained parent available to the child 24 hours a day.  Intensive Plus homes have the same requirements with the exception of an in home family therapist component.  This service must be in place to be considered an Intensive Plus Foster Home.

Training for Resource Foster Parents

Resource Foster Care offers diverse, but rewarding challenges. Pathway Family Services, Inc. offers one of the most comprehensive training programs of any child welfare agency in the state of Kansas to give their Resource Foster parents the keys to be successful. Prior to being licensed, families receive training covering topics such as: feelings, behaviors, working with the system, identifying abuse, and understanding the legal aspects of Resource Foster parenting. Through the PS-MAPP course, biological parents and prospective Resource Foster parents are taught the fundamental basics of good parenting and what to expect as Resource Foster parents, while our Title IV-E training (co-sponsored with the Children’s Alliance of Kansas) ensures that our current Resource Foster parents receive the necessary assistance and accreditation. Continual educational opportunities are provided through our support system to Resource Foster Families.

Pathway Family Services along with TFI Family Services, Inc. also hosts and co-sponsors a number of local-based training seminars and presentations for the general public, seeking to educate communities on different aspects of good parenting, becoming a Resource Foster parent, child welfare and safety, and various other topics.

PS-MAPP Training

PS-MAPP stands for Partnering for Safety and Permanence Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting. Every potential foster or adoptive parent is required to complete PS-MAPP training before a child can be placed in their home. The goal of the ten week training course is to help you and your family decide whether or not fostering a child is right for you.

The program guides potential applicants through the complex issues they will face as Resource Foster parents. Through carefully designed activities, parents see firsthand the challenges of fostering. Using both group and individual exercises, leaders help parents decide if their expectations and abilities match the realities of being a Resource Foster parent. Mutual preparation and selection enable parents and Pathway Family Services to build the basis of teamwork toward permanency for children and their families. Partnerships in parenting become partnerships for permanency. When Resource Foster parents understand the needs of children and their families, it is more likely that permanency will be achieved. This program enables Resource Foster parents to work more effectively with children and their families in the child welfare system.

Common Questions About PS-MAPP Training

How much does it cost?
PS-MAPP training is offered free of charge.

Who can attend?
PS-MAPP training is open to all qualified potential Resource Foster parents. Please note that both parents in the household are required to complete training before becoming a licensed Resource Foster Care provider.

Am I obligated to be a Resource Foster parent after completing PS-MAPP training?
No. Some potential Resource Foster parents realize during the training that Resource Foster parenting would not be right for them. There is absolutely no obligation to become a Resource Foster parent after completing the training. As an additional benefit, almost all participants have claimed that PS-MAPP training has helped them become better parents to their own children.

When do the classes take place?
New PS-MAPP classes begin every few weeks or months, depending upon instructor availability and demand from the community. Meetings last three hours per week for ten consecutive weeks.

Where are the classes located?
TFI Family Services, Inc. is proud to sponsor PS-MAPP trainings all over the state of Kansas.

If my husband and I have different work hours and it would be impossible for us to attend the ten week PS-MAPP classes, does that mean we couldn’t be foster parents?
Pathway Family Services does offer an alternative for those families in your situation. When you make your application, please let us know your circumstances so we can evaluate if you are a candidate for the alternative training.

How do I find out more information or register for PS-MAPP training?
Interested applicants can call our Resource Family Recruitment Specialist toll free at 877-810-8583 or reach us by email [email protected]. Our schedule is updated often, so please check back for more information about PS-MAPP training, including dates and locations of upcoming classes.