During National Family Reunification Month in June, KVC Kansas hosted Families United celebrations to recognize families who have worked diligently to safely reunite after their children were removed from the home and placed in foster care. Due to a unique and successful partnership with the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), KVC Kansas helped safely reunify 1,038 children with their families in eastern Kansas last year (FY16).
The first Families United celebration for the month was held at Antioch Park in Merriam, Kan. on June 9. Several families, along with KVC staff members, gathered for food, games and prizes. Families who successfully completed Family Preservation Services, which focuses on stabilizing the family in order to prevent the removal of the child from the home, were also invited to join the celebration. In addition, KVC honored an outstanding member of the community who has gone above and beyond in helping families achieve and maintain reunification. This year’s award went to people involved with the CarePortal who have met a variety of needs, from providing hard goods such as a bed or furniture, to covering utility bills for a family in need. The CarePortal connects the needs of children and families served by KVC with the church community through simple emails.
Another Families United celebration was held at Garfield Park and Pool in Topeka, Kan. on June 10. The event had a carnival theme, and families enjoyed swimming, dinner served by KVC staff, games and prizes. Family photos were taken at the event and mailed to the families as a way to remember such a wonderful evening.
“These celebrations are very near and dear to our heart. Our work helps these parents become so much stronger and wiser in order to become better parents and better members of the community. Our staff always look forward to these events where they can see these families outside of their homes, enjoying themselves and being part of a fun event that celebrates their hard work.” -Kellie Hans-Reid, Director of Intensive In-Home Services for the KC Region
In order for children to safely return home, KVC provides support and education to the parents, while addressing the initial safety and stability concerns that prompted the child to be removed from the home. Once the child has been safely reintegrated back into their home, KVC provides aftercare services for up to one year in order to ensure that the family continues to succeed. More than 90 percent of children who have reunified with their families do not return to foster care within 12 months – this is dramatically higher than the national average of 67 percent, and can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of our staff and birth families!
On May 25, 2016, Governor Sam Brownback signed a proclamation in Topeka, Kan. designating June as Family Reunification Month. Due to the work of the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), KVC and other partner agencies, 1,988 Kansas children were safely reunified with their families in FY15. Nearly 60 percent of children in state custody are safely reintegrated back with their families.
You can get involved and help meet the needs of the children and families we serve by sharing the news about the CarePortal with your church. Encourage your pastor and ministry leaders to visit the CarePortal website to register. You can also learn more about our Family Preservation and Reunification services.