“A different lens”: Kansas announces Family First grants

Saint Francis Ministries is excited to announce the receipt of two grants that will help Kansas work toward stabilizing vulnerable families and keeping children out of foster care.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families on Oct. 1 announced the award recipients of its grants in support of the Family First Prevention Services Act.

Saint Francis, based in Salina, Kansas, received awards of $729,267 for a Seeking Safety initiative and $2,871,371 to begin offering Family Centered Treatment in the state. The DHHS grant period for these awards is Oct. 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.

Kansas has been proactive in taking advantage of opportunities put in place by the Family First Prevention Services Act, federal legislation passed in February 2018. The FFPSA encourages states to focus on support and services before a child is removed from their home and placed into foster care.

“We are able to use child welfare knowledge and dollars at the beginning of a child’s contact with the system, where we can provide services to families that need them,” said Tom Blythe, president and COO. “We’re grateful that Kansas chose to be at the forefront of implementing Family First.”

Kansas released a Request for Proposal in late June, asking providers to put forward evidence-based practices that would help reduce the need for children and youth to enter foster care and that could be evaluated for their efforts and impact.

“It is important for every state in the country to look at child welfare through a different lens,” said Rachel Marsh, Saint Francis vice president of advocacy. “The Family First act allows us to do that in a way that will help keep children out of foster care and get support to families that need it.”

Seeking Safety provides treatment for adults and teens with a history of substance use. The curriculum supports clients with work on, among other things, counseling, education and relapse prevention training.

Substance use is common among families involved in child welfare, with a recent round of Children and Family Service Reviews showing that 16% to 48% of all child welfare cases include substance use disorders.

Family Centered Treatment is designed to find simple, practical and commonsense solutions for families faced with disruption or dissolution of their family.

Intensive in-home treatment services focus on improving caretaking and coping skills, enhancing family resiliency and developing healthy and nurturing relationships through changes in family values.

FCT also speaks to a real need for in-home treatment for youth and families who move between child welfare, mental health and juvenile justice systems, creating clients often referred to as “crossover youth.”

“Meeting the needs of crossover youth in our child welfare system is a critical issue for Kansas families today,” Marsh said. “I am thrilled that through the DCF award and new opportunities under the Family First Act, Saint Francis can step forward and enhance supports to families with these unique needs.”

Picture of Beth Cormack
Beth Cormack

Beth is the project manager for the Saint Francis Ministries Marketing and Communications team.

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