Skip to main content

When the winter weather arrives, it can be challenging if you’re an active family who likes to partake in sports and other outdoor activities. Even though winter marks the end of the season of football, baseball, soccer, and swimming at the neighborhood pool, there are plenty of things you can do to help your kids stay active during the winter.

Trying to avoid a case of “cabin fever” this winter? Here are some family-friendly activities to enjoy with the kids this winter.

Having Fun On The Ice
Ice skating is a quintessential winter activity that’s fun for all ages. Indoor ice rinks often provide rental skates for visitors, but if you don’t have an indoor rink, you can usually find ice skates (and other winter sports gear) at affordable prices at used sporting good stores. Ice hockey is also a popular winter sport that requires quite a bit of extra gear, but don’t skimp on the padding.

If you decide to skate on a pond or lake rather than an outdoor rink, only skate when the ice is at least four inches thick. Whether you’re ice skating or playing a casual game of ice hockey, helmets are a must, particularly for children and beginners.

Another popular ice activity is dropping a line in the water for ice fishing. Ice fishing, especially if you’re planning on driving on the ice, requires at least eight inches of ice.

A Winter Hike
A great way to get some fresh air and exercise in the winter is to go on a hike. Some local and state parks host events, such as a candlelight snowshoe hike, but you can always explore on your own.

Snowshoeing is a great way to hike through deep snow, but if you don’t have a pair of snowshoes wearing a warm pair of winter boots with good tread should be sufficient. If you’re going on an unguided hike, be aware of your surroundings, know your limitations, and always let someone know of your plans (and where you are) in case you get lost or injured on your hike.

Hill Sports
A snowy winter wouldn’t be complete without grabbing a sled and finding the perfect hill. Skiing and snowboarding are other winter sports that are fun for the home family. Sign up for family lessons or enroll your children in some one-on-one lessons. Not only does learning the right technique keep your children safer, but they are more likely to enjoy skiing or snowboarding.

Wearing a helmet and other recommended safety gear is a must when snowboarding and skiing (it may not be a bad idea when sledding, too). While beginners are more prone to injury, everyone is at risk for an injury and traumatic brain injuries with sports are common when ice skating, playing hockey, skiing or snowboarding.

A Few More Notes About Safety
Dressing for the weather is also essential when you’re spending time outdoors. Wearing layers will keep everyone from overheating and it’s best to choose base layers of wool or other fabrics that wick away moisture. Packing an extra set of clothes can be nice to change into before you head home or if someone gets too wet and cold from the snow.

Always pay attention to the weather forecast before you plan a day outdoors and dress your children appropriately. If you’re making plans to travel, let others know what your plans are and have an emergency kit in your car that has items like food, water, extra blankets, and other useful items for winter weather.


On January 3, 2019, TFI was notified by DCF that Governor-Elect Kelly’s administration were suspending all start up activities toward the case management and family preservation grant implementation scheduled for July 1, 2019, to allow them to review the process and awards. We are cooperating with Governor-Elect Kelly’s administration and Interim Secretary Howard towards the quick review of the grant award process and decisions. TFI has been involved in multiple transition activities since the award, including community meetings with DCF, KVC, SFM and Eckerd. The meetings went well. In addition, transition meetings had begun with DCF, KVC and SFM. TFI had also met with KVC employees who were interested in transitioning with the grants. TFI has provided quality case management services in the past in the areas we were awarded, and we welcome the opportunity to move forward soon with the transition. In the meanwhile, we will continue to provide quality services to Kansas’ children through our foster care and residential services. If you have any concerns, please reach out to our Directors, Pamela Richardson or Anne Reicheneker.

Care Provider of the Month
John and Robin Whitley have five children under the age of 6 in their home; two of the children are medically fragile children while one of the 15 month old babies has a severe reaction to the Foster parent showing attention to others at any time. The Whitley’s do not complain about the situation they find their self in (late hours dealing with two medically fragile babies while working a full time job). John and Robin are always positive with a smile on their faces. John and Robin have a heart full of compassion for each of the children.

We are so lucky to have the Whitley’s as part of the TFI family!


We are excited to announce the hire of Michelle Grover for our TFI Nebraska Foster Care Program. Michelle joined our TFI Nebraska family effective 12/13/18. She comes to us with years of experience in social services. She will be working out of a home office in Grand Island and will be getting out to meet each of you soon. She can be reached at


Happy New Year TFI parents,
We look forward to continuing our partnership with you as you care for Oklahoma’s children.
As a reminder, each certified family member should have completed the required 12 hours of annual training for 2018. If you have not turned in your hours, please do so immediately. If you have not completed your annual training hours you will need to add any hours to this year’s requirement.
For example:
2018 training hours you have completed: 10 (missing 2 hours)
2019 required annual training hours: 12
Total you will need for 2019: 14

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact your foster care worker or their supervisor.

Care Provider of the Month
Carlie Duffy and Amber Jenkins certified with TFI on August 8, 2018. The family accepted placement of a sibling set of two children. The family later learned that the sibling’s biological mother was having a baby in October. Carlie and Amber wanted to keep the siblings together; therefore, they accepted placement of the new born baby. The baby has had medical issues since birth. The family has been driving to Dallas and Oklahoma City every week for doctors’ appointments to see various specialists. Carlie Duffy and Amber Jenkins have proven they will do what they can to keep the children together. They are interested in adopting the children.

We are lucky to have Carlie and Amber as part of the TFI family!


Texas Family Initiative held their 1st Annual Pancakes & Waffles Holiday Brunch on December 8. Our office was filled with over three hundred snowflakes, generously made for us by a local middle school where one of our foster parents is the principal. We had three Christmas trees all decorated with donated ornaments. Santa and Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, thrilled the children and gave out candy canes. The families participated in Christmas Ornament, painting their hands for our new office, and coloring their own placemats to take home with them. It was a magical time for not only our foster families, but the TFI staff here as well.

TFI also had their first holiday get-together in Wichita Falls on December 1. Families who were in the process to be licensed foster parents filled the Wichita Falls Office. The children were able to enjoy their time taking pictures with Santa along with riding the train. Christmas gifts, which were donated to TFI, were passed out to the children. The families were provided with dinner from Cracker Barrel and desserts were provided by one of our future foster families. It was a great dinner with all foster and kinship homes.
A special thanks to you Santa Clause in both locations, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, the elf, the extra helpers, and the photographer for putting in their free time for Texas Family Initiative.

Care Provider of the Month
Virginia and Timothy Price have cared for Christopher, Arya and Adaylnne since the summer of 2017. The Price’s welcomed all 3 children in their home in order to prevent them from being separated from one another. The Voss children have become a part of the Price family as they have been included in family vacations, outings and introduced into their church family as well. Virginia and Timothy have offered nothing but love, support and encouragement to all the children and have developed a strong bond that will last a lifetime. On December 19, 2018, the Price’s decided to make this arrangement permanent and adopted all 3 children. The children were filled with excitement and joy as they understood that they would now become a part of the Price family forever. The day of adoption was shared with members of the Price family, the children’s biological sister and grandparents, as well as TFI Case Manager and CPS Worker. The Price family are now looking forward to their life with the Voss children and the many memories they will create.

We are lucky to have the Price’s and congratulate them on their adoption!

Recruitment Moment

New Year’s Resolutions are here. I have a great suggestion for every family with TFI. TFI currently has over 700 wonderful Foster Families across the states we serve. What if every family referred ONE new family to TFI to become a Foster Family for a TFI youth? We would have 700 plus new families and everyone would receive the $500 Foster Family Referral Incentive!

Let’s think about that for a minute – 700 New Foster Families! Every child that is needing a home would have a place to go. No more being placed outside your home community, no more children placed in a shelter or emergency home. Every child would have a place to call home.

Take this time and let’s make 2019 the year for the most Foster Family Referrals in TFI History. Talk with your friend, family, church members and have them call 1-833-7-FOSTER and let’s get them started on the same journey you took.

TFI would like to thank all of our Foster Families for the work you did in 2018. We could not do this without you. Here is to a great 2019!

Happy Recruiting
Jason Cecil
National Director or Recruitment

10 Years
Jason and Julie Keller
Lydia Horner

Greetings TFI Foster Parents!

My name is Nadine Terry-Washington and I provide Ombudsman services for TFI. TFI recognizes the importance of maintaining contact with foster parents to get their input and feedback and to maintain foster parent satisfaction. I am the identified contact if you have concerns that have not been able to be resolved through other means. I will listen to your concern and ensure the concern is reviewed by the appropriate parties. I will monitor that your concern is addressed timely with the goal of trying to reach a resolution. I also want to hear from you when you have program ideas or suggestions that can enhance services for children and families.

Another one of my roles as the Ombudsman is to review the quality of services that the agency provides to our clients and foster parents by sending out satisfaction surveys. I want to urge everyone to fill out these surveys and ask that you encourage the children ages 10 years of age and older that are placed in your home to fill them out as well. These surveys will help provide the information needed in determining the best quality of services for the clients and you as the caregivers. Please remember that your input is important.

Nadine Terry-Washington
Mainstream Nonprofit Solutions


Grief and Loss:
For youth in care, placement in care often brings complicated feelings of shame, relief, or guilt. In order to effectively serve and provide for young people, foster parents need to help them recognize their grief and meet them where they are in their grieving process. This can be a very challenging process but by gaining knowledge and identifying tools to help your child cope with feelings of grief and ambiguous loss symptoms can be treated and assist the child in obtaining understanding and acceptance in resolving their feelings.

To better understand ambiguous loss and complicated grief, Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross created the popular model known as the five stages of grief. The five stages of grief are 1) shock/ denial 2) anger 3) bargaining 4) despair/ depression and 5) acceptance.

Children in care experience trauma through the loss of their home, family, friends and identity. As a result of these losses children have difficulty getting through day to day tasks. They have emotional reactions such as sadness, anger, sleep problems and loss of appetite as well as behavioral changes such as aggression, irritability and social isolation.

Foster parents can aid their children as they process their loss and grief issues by being patient, supportive and understanding. The support and understanding given to each child as they go through the grieving process is a major factor in their adjustment to a foster family. Specific ways to assist your child in coping with loss and grief can be spending quality time with the child to build a connection to them by both acknowledging and listening to their experience and learn more about their thoughts and feelings. It is also recommended that when foster parents observe that their child is exhibiting symptoms of loss and grief, they advocate to have a professional assess the child’s need for therapy, which may intensify or diminish at different points during their time in care.

Loss and grief are normal experiences for everyone. Children in care, however, often experience loss upon loss with little opportunity to understand and manage the feelings of grief that follow. They require us to respond intentionally, with empathy, compassion, and understanding, to ensure physical and emotional resiliency.

Directions: Read each statement below carefully. Circle the “T” if you think the statement is TRUE or circle the “F” if you think the statement is FALSE.

T or F. Denial is one of the five stages of grief created by psychiatrist Kübler-Ross.
T or F. Children in care do not experience trauma through the loss of their home, family, friends and identity.
T or F. Foster parents can aid their children as they process their loss and grief issues by ignoring them and eventually it will go away.
T or F. Loss and grief are normal experiences for everyone.
T or F. Specific ways to assist your child in coping with loss and grief can be spending quality time with the child.
T or F. The five stages of grief are 1) singing 2) acting 3) bragging 4) leaping and 5) playing.
T or F. Children in care often experience loss upon loss with little opportunity to understand and manage the feelings of grief that follow.
T or F. In order to effectively serve and provide for young people, foster parents need to help them recognize their grief and meet them where they are in their grieving process.9.
T or F. In order to effectively serve and provide for young people, foster parents need to help them recognize their grief and meet them where they are in their grieving process.