PITTSBURG — TFI Family Services, Inc., which has an office in Pittsburg, has been awarded a $26 million grant from the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) to provide foster care and adoption case management services in Southeast and Southcentral Kansas.

“Founded in 1965 as a rural day camp for youth, TFI has grown to become a multi-state child welfare organization providing a broad array of services to children and families,” according to its website. “Originally named The Farm, Inc., TFI specialized in long-term residential care with the capacity to care for 24 children at a time and often kept brothers and sisters together. The children learned to fish, swim, camp and to appreciate all the aspects of living on a farm while attending public school and a local church. The children were active in their school and community. Our support came from the local Jaycee and Elks organizations.”

The grant, which began this month and runs through June 30, 2023, will allow TFI to open nine new offices, employing approximately 400 new staff, and to provide care to approximately 2,500 children and their families per year in counties including Crawford, Cherokee, Bourbon, Allen Neosho and Labette, according to a release from the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Other counties served by the new grant funding include Osage, Franklin, Miami, Coffey, Anderson, Linn, Woodson, Wilson, Chautauqua, Montgomery, Pratt, Barber, Kingman, Harper, Sumner, Butler, Cowley, Greenwood and Elk.

“I am excited for the opportunity to working in partnership with others to keep children safe and help families stay intact,” Foster and Adoption Program Vice President Pamela Richardson said in the release. “Southeast Kansas is special to me as a lifetime resident of Chanute, KS and graduate of Pittsburg State University. It is great to make a difference in your home community.”

TFI has long enjoyed a strong relationship with DCF staff, community leaders, and providers throughout the region, the release notes, and “will continue to work diligently to engage stakeholders, develop effective programming, and serve every child, youth, and family member in their care, so that they may realize safety, permanency and overall wellbeing.”

Tina Holt, TFI vice president of marketing and fund development, said that locally, the DCF grant will create 50 new jobs in the area and 200 children throughout Crawford and Cherokee counties will be served out of TFI’s Pittsburg office.

“We have a need for volunteers to do filing, sit with kids, and other tasks,” Holt said in an email. “We need more foster parents, unopened boxes of diapers, formula, and we will have a Christmas toy drive in a couple months.”

Those interested in learning more about how they can help or in becoming a foster parent can reach TFI by calling 1-833-736-7837.

“There is a significant need for additional foster homes in the state of Kansas to help ensure those children who cannot be with their parents or family members have a safe, stable home environment in which to thrive,” Vice President of Permanency Services Tabitha Reavis said in the nonprofit’s recent news release. “If you are interested in providing a stable, safe environment for children in need, please contact us.”