On December 11th and 12th, more than 230 foster families came together for KVC Kansas’ 17th Resource Family Conference (RFC). The event was a unique training opportunity for kinship, foster and adoptive families caring for children who are temporarily in foster care due to abuse, neglect, parental drug use or other family challenges.
Each RFC features an inspirational keynote speaker, typically someone who was in foster care as a child and has achieved success in adulthood. This year, families heard from veteran newsman Dominic Carter, a journalist with Verizon Fios/RNN News who has been described as the best political reporter working in New York television today. Carter’s book, “No Momma’s Boy,” chronicles his triumphant struggle to overcome years of childhood abuse from his mother and her mental illness as a chronic paranoid schizophrenic while growing up in the housing projects in South Bronx, New York.
“Resource” families, which include relative, nonrelated kin and foster parents, learned about topics such as handling behavior challenges, repairing the effects of stress and trauma, and transition planning into adulthood, while children enjoy fun activities like games, bouncy houses and talent shows. Each child and parent is a guest of KVC’s for the weekend, giving children in foster care a positive, life-changing experience.
Along with the keynote speaker, resource parents had the opportunity to attend different breakout sessions throughout the day such as a Judges Panel, “Stop Trafficking Project” presentation, an introduction to YOUTHRIVE, “Repairing the Effects of Stress & Trauma on Early Attachment”, “Infant Stress: A Big Deal for Little People” and “Breaking the Silence: Vicarious Trauma”.
While resource parents attended training, the kids were entertained by over 100 volunteers and enjoyed various activities including a magician, inflatables, PowerPlay and a movie at Shawnee 18 B&B Theaters. Teens age 12-18 also heard the keynote speaker Dominic Carter, met him and received a signed book.
“The Resource Family Conference is something that many of the children and teens in foster care look forward to all year long,” said B. Wayne Sims, CEO of KVC Health Systems for the past 35 years and creator of the event. “We’re proud to be able to provide this benefit to our foster families, and it simply wouldn’t be possible without the generous businesses, families and individuals who partner with KVC to make it happen.”
Along with the conference, KVC supports resource families in many different ways. For more information on becoming a resource parent, click here.