By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: December 2013
The Chamber of Commerce welcomed Director Jason Cecil and TFI Family Connections to Claremore with a ribbon cutting ceremony in late September. TFI Family Connections is a private non-profit foster parent agency.
Eighty-five Rogers County children need a foster family. Due to abuse or neglect, these children have been removed from their biological homes and are currently living in emergency shelters or foster homes. However, with only 14 non-relative foster homes available in Rogers County at this time, there is a dire need for families to provide these children with love, stability and guidance.
Statewide, according to Jason Cecil, director of TFI Family Connections recruitment, Oklahoma has a huge shortage of foster parents. “Rogers County is one of those in desperate need of foster families,” he says.
In a new effort to keep up with the rising number of children coming into the foster care system, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) has awarded contracts to private partnerships for the recruitment, support and retention of foster families. TFI Family Connections, LLC is one of these private not-for-profits that will now work to recruit and retain foster families. “We will be working alongside OKDHS to service the entire state of Oklahoma with the exception of the Oklahoma City area,” says Cecil.
TFI will help support families as they interact with OKDHS throughout the foster care approval process and during placement and care of children in their homes. They also help provide an understanding of the child welfare system.
“A large number of children in custody are placed in shelter care, even as young as five or six years of age,” says Cecil. “Because of a lack of foster homes and enough emergency shelter space, some of these children are often transferred to facilities outside Rogers County. When these young children are removed from their homes, they experience trauma, and when you add on being moved outside their familiar territory, it becomes even more traumatic.”
TFI’s goal for Rogers County is to secure 20 to 30 more foster homes. “These children should have a safe family home to live in,” he adds. “We are committed to helping find these families and to also provide a high level of support to them.”
TFI Family Connections uses a model of support founded on the principle that foster families deserve a professional, consistent worker of their own dedicated to supporting them as foster parents. “Our foster care family workers are knowledgeable, qualified and caring,” says Cecil.
In addition to the support of a dedicated, professional, personal case worker located close to the foster family home, TFI offers 24-hour on-call support, reimbursement payments, local monthly support meetings, free comprehensive, ongoing training, a multimedia resource library, respite services, liability insurance, and independent advocacy to support the foster home and the children being served. TFI also offers annual foster parent retreats, informative monthly newsletters specifically for foster parents, a foster family mentor program, foster parent appreciation events and holiday parties. “Most importantly,” says Cecil, “we provide the necessary communication and support so that each child and foster family can thrive.”
Foster families who “provide love, stability and guidance for a child in need of care will and do change a life for the good,” he adds. “While you or your family may not be able to bring foster children into your home, you may know someone who might be,” says Cecil. “It’s the power of one. If everyone found one foster family, we would have enough to support the children and families in this community – and it’s an ever-growing need.”
If you know of a church or organization interested in hosting Cecil as a speaker to explain more about TFI Family Connections and the foster care program, please contact him at (866) 543-9810, extension 3043 or by email at eat0@eau0eav0eaw0.
For more information, contact
After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.
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