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Spring vacation is a time for families to recharge, get ready for the home stretch of the school year, and have some fun with healthy activities. Whether you’re planning to take it easy at home during spring break or take a fun family trip, here are ideas for activities to do with your kids.

Play Outdoor Games
Get outside in the fresh air and sunshine to play active games. Now that the days are longer and the temperature is finally beginning to warm up, classic outdoor games like Red Light Green Light and Freeze Tag will give kids needed exercise. It’s a nice break from organized sports and you can play along with the kids to burn some extra calories yourself!

Create a Beautiful Garden with Your Children
Use spring break to plant a garden. Grade-schoolers enjoy digging in the dirt, and they will have a sense of accomplishment and pride from creating something with their hard work. You can use a planter or find growing space in your yard. Give your kid a spade or trowel to prepare the soil. Depending on the growing season where you live, it may be too early to plant, but you can get started by choosing the seeds, sprouting seedlings, or buying plants ready to be planted.

Have a Fun Family Picnic
What better way to spend a beautiful warm day outside than to go on a family picnic? Check for a park where you can walk or hike before or after your picnic meal. Pack a basket with healthy picnic food that is safe at room temperature, or bring the food in a cooler. Tote along some games and toys. After a memorable day together, your kids will be so exhausted that they’ll probably go to bed without much trouble!

Take a Family Trip
You can make memories by taking a family trip for spring vacation. Whether you’re planning to drive or fly, do a little research to find family-friendly destinations, must-have travel games, and healthy travel snacks to keep kids occupied during the trip.

Tour Your Town
Too often, you don’t take the time dig deep into the history and sights where you live. Use spring break to take a real “staycation” and go to the places a visitor would explore. Take walking tours, go to local museums, visit historic sites and parks. They may have special programs during your local spring break. You will connect with your community in new ways and see it through new eyes.

Explore Spring Crafts
It’s good to have some indoor activities in mind in case the weather is still unsettled. Check whether crafts classes are available, especially those you can enjoy with your child. You can learn new skills and create something together. If you already enjoy a craft such as knitting, quilting, or pottery, plan some time on a new project with your child.

Excerpt from
Pam Richardson, LMSW


Reminder Regarding Confidentiality and Social Media Posts
Please remember that foster parents cannot post or share any photos of children in foster care on social media sites such as Facebook. This applies even if the child’s face is hidden in the photo. This can be considered by DCF to be a violation of KAR-28-4-808(f) in the family foster home regulations.

Kansas Foster Care and Case Management Grants
The Kansas Department for Children and Families has announced its intent to continue negotiations and move forward with the Foster Care Grants. These are the grants TFI was awarded in November for South East and South Central Kansas that were suspended in January. The New Grants will begin on October 1, 2019. We are very excited that we will again be providing placement and case management services to the Children and Families of Kanas. The Department also announced that they have terminated the Family Preservation contracts that were awarded in November and will be rebidding those contracts. This is all great news for TFI! We will be opening up new offices in SE/SC Kansas and hiring 350+ staff to support these new grants.


For the last several years, I’ve had the great pleasure to work with the Eric and Kammi Bean foster family. Eric and Kammi are very willing to go beyond the call of duty when it comes to caring for the youth placed in their home. Even as youth leave their home, their partnership with other foster parents and advocacy does not stop. Most recently, the Bean’s have worked with many difficult behaviors and continue to be creative in their attempts to deal with the challenging behaviors. Eric and Kammi always find time for family vacations, weekend travels, birthday celebrations and a multitude of youth activities. Kammi’s eagerness to be involved with helping others exemplifies her dedication and caring spirit to youth. Eric is active in their foster placements recreational activities (even if it includes staying up late to build a derby car or an overnight camp outing for the foster placements). Their learning and flexibility has helped them to grow and become more successful in providing the ‘fantastic care’ they provide. With sincere appreciation for all you do for our youth and our agency — please accept my thanks for the opportunity to be your family worker! Submitted by: Shelly Edwards, LBSW MS


TFI Director and supervisors, Amy Bloodsworth and Amber Cook, attended the OKCARE Legislative Breakfast on February 19th, 2019. OKCARE presented awards to the Legislator of the Year, OKCARE Administrator of the Year, Social Service Award, and Direct Care Services Award. We were pleased to meet with Representatives and discuss Oklahoma Foster Care, and TFI Connections history and contributions to Oklahoma Foster Care.

TFI is a member of OKCARE, a non-profit organizational network of Oklahoma agencies, both public and private, working together to provide quality care to troubled children and their families. Organized in 1939, Oklahoma Care is dedicated to serving the needs of children who require placement outside their own home, either temporarily or permanently. For more information


Terra Turner has been an approved foster home for a little over 4 years. She is a single mom with two boys, ages 13 and 9. She currently has placement of 2 children, ages 2 and 1. Terra recently has undergone brain surgery. She has made a full recovery and is doing well. Prior to her surgery, Terra made sure that the children in her home had a safe place to go while she was in the hospital and recovering. Her father stayed in the home to help with the children and to assist her during her recovery. Terra is a strong single woman who has a heart for children and an ability to provide exceptional care to the children in her home. She incorporates children placed in her home in all aspects of life and they are treated like part of the family. Her passion for the youth of Oklahoma has also been instilled in her biological son’s hearts. It is truly a family affair in the fostering process in her home. Each person in the home plays an important part in providing love, care, and safety to the children placed in her home.


Our foster parent Karen Shadden was asked to speak at an OCOK Informational Meeting and a Cook Children’s Fostering Health Program on 2/21/2019. She talked with a panel of doctors and nurses along with agency representatives and workers. It was an honor to be asked, and she made Texas Family Initiative very proud of her knowledge and understanding of the Texas Health Steps and Superior Health Passport System. Way to go Mrs. Shadden!


The Esquivel family adopted a little girl a few years ago. Her baby sister Skyler came into care in October of 2017. The Esquivel family opened their hearts and their home to Skyler, so she and her sister could be reunited, understanding the importance of keeping siblings together. They adopted Skyler on 2/21/2019 making the family complete! TFI is lucky to have amazing families like the Esquivel’s!


It’s almost Spring – let’s get out of that Winter Time Funk. As TFI continues to grow and expand we need more Foster Parents now more then ever. This is a reminder to everyone about our Ambassador Program and the rewards that come with referring a new family to TFI.

Below are the requirements of the program:
Silver: Must have referred at least ONE family to TFI who has become a certified/licensed home with TFI.
Gold: Must have referred at least THREE potential families to TFI who have become certified/licensed home with TFI.
Diamond: Must have referred at least FIVE potential families to TFI who have become certified/licensed home with TFI.
Platinum: Must have referred at least SEVEN potential families to TFI who have become certified/licensed home with TFI.

All referrals must have been on or before January 1, 2017.


TFI Providers Anniversary


18 Years
Ralph “Jr” & Arra Whittley

15 Years
Doug & Dorothy Clopton

10 Years
William & Cathy Griesbach

5 Years
Wayne & Cathy Hunter
Robert & Julie Boatright
Jeanne Chambers
Judy Wade

1 Year
Victor & Jananne Menold
Jason & Sarah Tracy
Barry & Tara Stout
Robin & Sarah Shanks
Kalynda Hair
Denise Thorpe
Ryan & Heather Haase

We are proud to partner with Kroger grocery stores in Texas and Kansas as they help to support our TFI foster children and families.
To Use the Kroger Community Rewards Program:
Simply visit – Log onto your Kroger account, then search for the correct state agency or code depending on where you live, then click ENROLL.
Texas: Search “Texas Family Initiative” or use Code NG881
Kansas: Search “TFI” or use Code SV336


Are you making two or three meals at breakfast or dinner just to satisfy picky eaters? Stop it now! Do not let your children dictate to you and the whole family what your meal will be. Children are super smart and know what nutrient-deficient foods they are allowed to snack on and love eating. They want every meal. Who wouldn’t want to eat chocolate cake every meal if possible? But as adults we know it is not a good idea. Children do not understand the long-lasting effects of bad eating habits, but we as adults do. Children see they are receiving special treatment with their shocking food choices. Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., a contributor to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website stated, “Picky eaters are made, not born.”

Here are the things to keep in mind when it is mealtime:

  • No short-order cooking
  • Don’t keep junk in the house
  • Be consistent about what’s off limits
  • Keep meals fresh and simple
  • Introduce a new food paired with a familiar one
  • Make meals fun…let the children participate in the preparation