An Update on Fostering Healthy Futures

 

For nearly two decades, Heather Taussig, PhD and her colleagues have produced promising results through the Kempe Center’s Fostering Healthy Futures program. Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) is a positive youth development program that employs 1:1 mentoring, and group-based skills training to promote healthy youth development and reduce trauma-related symptoms and behaviors among youths facing adversity. Since the program’s launch, it has consistently progressed and promoted positive outcomes for children and teens in Colorado and beyond.

As the FHF program continues to evolve, we are optimistic about the new partnerships and funding sources that will bring more opportunities for its expansion. We recently connected with Jessica Corvinus, Director of Dissemination for the FHF program, to learn more about what’s ahead.

New Partnerships

For years, the Fostering Healthy Futures program has been a service provided directly through the Kempe Center. In order to expand the program’s reach to include more children, youth and families, FHF has shifted their focus to training, implementation and dissemination. 

In this growth phase, it is important that FHF is intentional about the organizations they select to be the stewards of the program. In order to identify sites that would execute this program successfully, the Kempe Center performs a readiness assessment on each prospective organization. This assessment accounts for the organization’s values, capacity and potential to successfully run and sustain the FHF program. 

Most recently, FHF has partnered with Colorado-based social services organizations Lutheran Family Services and Adoption Options. After being evaluated through FHF’s readiness assessment, these organizations were selected due to their enthusiasm, commitment and ability to successfully run the program. Following training from the FHF team, Lutheran Family Services and Adoption Options will begin implementing the program in the fall of 2021. 

Increased Funding

To ensure that new organizations are successful in their implementation of FHF, the Kempe Foundation has secured program funding from a variety of sources. One of these funding sources is the Tony Grampsas Youth Services Program Grant (TGYS) through the Colorado Department of Human Services. This statutory program provides funding through grants to local organizations for prevention, intervention and education programs to youth and their families. The TGYS grant will fund the implementation of FHF at Lutheran Family Services and Adoption Options in the fall, as well as support FHF staff through these training and dissemination efforts. 

In addition to the TGYS grant, FHF is hopeful that they will qualify for funding through the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). In order to qualify for this funding, FHF had to receive a certain rating from the Title IV- E Prevention Services Clearinghouse – a rating system specifically designed for FFPSA. 

A program is rated on the quality of the program design and the outcomes of their studies and is reimbursed if they fit into the top two tiers of the rating system. The ratings include well-supported, supported, promising and does not meet criteria. Because the FHF Preteen program conducted two randomized controlled trials with demonstrated short- and long-term effects, it has been awarded a rating of well-supported, which should allow it to qualify for funding through FFPSA.

Looking Ahead

As we look to the future, we are hopeful that FHF will continue to expand to serve more children, youth and families across the country. In order to make this happen, FHF will need to build out a research and dissemination infrastructure to guarantee stable, successful growth. The Kempe Foundation is committed to supporting the Kempe Center as they advance this work. As the potential for more federal funding comes through FFPSA, it is incumbent upon the Foundation to raise money for FHF and the Kempe Center so that we can continue to provide youth with access to positive, empowering, and growth-promoting programming.

Kempe Ambassadors March Madness Competition

We are excited to present our first annual Kempe March Madness! Join us for a friendly competition to cheer on our favorite teams and raise money for programs and initiatives to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect. 

The tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th, so make sure to have your brackets completed prior to tip off.  Please invite your friends, family and colleagues!

Exciting Prizes for the Top 5 Finishers:

  • Two tickets to TWO Denver Nuggets games (21-22 Season)
  • Basketball signed by Tad Boyle (CU Head Basketball Coach) 
  • $250 value wine tasting for 10, virtually or in person, at Attimo
  • $250 VISA gift card from MidFirst Bank
  • $150 gift card for the Gastamo Group (Park Burger, Birdcall, etc.)

How it Works:

  1. Set up an account here and complete your bracket.

    Group: Kempe Madness 2021
    Password: Kempe2021

  1. Make a donation here (Suggested donation is $25 per entry)
  2. Sit back and enjoy some college hoops!

Thank you for your generosity and commitment to helping kids!

 

 

 

An Update on Kempe’s Trauma-Responsive Implementation & Practice Program

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought persistent anxiety to Colorado’s children and families. In uncertain times like these, trauma-informed care is crucial. The Kempe Center has made great strides in training and implementing this necessary care through the Trauma-Responsive Implementation and Practice (TRIP) Program, led by Dr. Evelin Gomez. This program fosters healthy, safe and responsive environments in children, youth and family serving systems across the state. Over the past few months, TRIP has made some notable progress. The Kempe Foundation is pleased to highlight some of this progress below:

Colorado Cross-Systems Training Institute
In collaboration with the Office of Behavioral Health, The Kempe Center is implementing trauma-responsive trainings for the Colorado Cross-Systems Training Institute (CSTI). Using the TRIP model, Kempe professionals developed trauma-responsive content and coaching for CSTI’s wide-reaching audience. These instructor-led (currently virtual) and self-paced web-based trainings are targeted to all professionals who work alongside children. This spring, they will provide training and coaching for school professionals on the Trauma-Responsive Schools Theory of Change Toolkit they co-authored.

NCTSN Breakthrough Collaborative
On a national level, Kempe professionals participated in an 18-month collaborative led by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). This collaborative was a call to educators around the country to keep children in the classroom. Research revealed that referrals, the term used for sending children to the principal’s office, are not a trauma-informed practice. Kemper Elementary School, located in the Montezuma Cortez School District, was enthusiastic about joining this collaborative with the Kempe Center. Kempe provided coaching, consultation and training to the school’s staff on how to implement trauma-informed care into their discipline. When these trauma-informed, individualized strategies were put into place, the school’s referrals decreased by 80%.

Aurora Public Schools
Many schools have behavioral intervention plans (BIP) and functional behavioral analysis (FBA) approaches that aren’t fully trauma-responsive and culturally informed. To improve their practices, Aurora Public Schools invited Kempe professionals to direct a workgroup to overhaul their BIP and FBA systems. The intent is to implement strategies and procedures to focus on regulation and be more individualized, culturally responsive, and cognizant of students’ trauma backgrounds and triggers.

Rite of Passage
Rite of Passage is a nationwide network of residential treatment centers which provides programs that empower youth and families to succeed. The specific center, based out of Arizona center, serves as a home and school for children who have lived through adverse experiences. After doing an assessment of the organization’s needs, Kempe’s professionals recommended training everyone, from educators to case workers to cafeteria staff, on trauma-informed care. In order to make sure this education was thorough and sustained, Kempe trained managers, directors, and supervisors to provide ongoing trainings to staff and new hires.

Challenges for Future
Looking to the future, there are a few key challenges that Kempe professionals acknowledge. Implementing trauma-informed care requires organizational policy change. Without support from legislators, organizations don’t have the funds to support this work on their own. Further, there is much work to be done on identifying metrics and best practices for evaluation of trauma informed approaches, implementation and dissemination. To ensure that Kempe is able to address these challenges and continue this work, please consider donating to The Kempe Foundation. Your donation will go towards pushing child-focused policies forward, implementing trauma-informed care, and creating a better future for Colorado’s children and families.

Job Posting: The Kempe Foundation Seeks Chief Mission Officer

Are you “Our Person”? The Kempe Foundation is seeking a growth-focused leader, who is passionate about mission-driven work, to propel the Kempe Foundation in creating a seismic shift in addressing the wellbeing of children in the prevention of childhood trauma and imparting the most effective treatments for victims of child abuse and neglect.

Watch the message below from our CEO Jon Kruljac. If you feel he might be speaking to you, please reach out to us!

This role requires innovative thinking, collaboration, and determination to succeed. If you have the ability to turn vision into action, you may be our next Chief Mission Officer and play a pivotal role in achieving our vision for the future.

Our Chief Mission Officer will partner with the CEO to design and implement growth initiatives, including comprehensive digital and social media campaigns and products aimed at raising the organization’s profile, attracting new supporters, and increasing individual and corporate fundraising to further the mission. While you will be supported by our small but skilled team, you will be encouraged to take the lead implementing new ideas for fundraising, relationship building and increasing our brand awareness.

As a key leadership team member, you will be integrally involved in all activities to build and maintain revenue that contributes to the financial sustainability of the Foundation. This includes communications, donor database management, donor events, corporate partnerships, community partnerships, and annual giving campaigns.
To support you in your work, you will have access to our public relations firm who supports content creation, media relations, social media, graphic design, and creation of collateral.

Read the full job description and instructions for applying here.

Advancing Child-Focused Policies in 2021

As we head into the 2021 legislative session, we know this last year has been especially difficult for children and families and they need to be prioritized now more than ever. Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, there is still uncertainty around the process and priorities of the upcoming legislative session. Although Colorado’s economy has shown marked improvement, the uncertainty underlying economic forecasts coupled with potential federal stimulus will determine just how much can be accomplished in this legislative session. With this in mind, and considering input from other stakeholders, the Kempe Foundation has identified a list of child-focused issues that may be considered by the Legislature this session and are of interest to the Foundation.

  • Domestic Violence added to Children’s Code: Douglas County Human Services in partnership with Colorado Counties Inc is bringing forth legislation to define domestic abuse in the children’s code with the goal of capturing the emotional and psychological impact this behavior can have on children. The Kempe Foundation is part of a stakeholder group working on a draft bill.
  • Child Protection Ombudsman: The Child Protection Ombudsman Office plans to pursue two bills this session. First, they would like to introduce legislation that will allow the Ombudsman Office to access data held by the Child Fatality Review Team at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) so they can better address how to prevent child fatalities moving forward. The second bill would protect the Ombudsman Office and staff from having to disclose work products and also be subject to subpoenas to testify. We support both of these bill concepts.
  • Marijuana: Smart Colorado and Blue Rising are collaborating on a comprehensive bill to put in place stricter limitations on both the medical and recreational marijuana industry. Although not finalized, the legislation will seek to cap potency at 15%, control products and prohibit the use of butane, propane, and other carcinogens in marijuana products, require toxicology for all suicides and overdoses and accidental deaths, prohibit marketing to children, additional packaging requirements, and likely other provisions as well.
  • Behavioral Health: Access to behavioral health services is critically important, especially on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused increased trauma for children and families. In April 2019, the Governor created the Behavioral Health Task Force (BHTF). The Taskforce was charged with evaluating and setting a roadmap to improve the behavioral health system in the state. In September 2020, the Behavioral Health Taskforce released their behavioral health blueprint which included over 150 recommendations and findings. A main component of their recommendations is the creation of a Behavioral Health Administration (BHA). The BHA would be established as a central organization that threads together behavioral health services spread across multiple departments. This is intended to reduce fragmentation within the system and create a single point of entry for the consumer, as well as reduce administrative burden for providers.
  • Budget: Kempe also will actively engage and advocate for continued full funding of three programs the Kempe Center implements in partnership with the state: The Child Welfare Training System, SafeCare, and the CARENetwork.

The Kempe Foundation is committed to advancing child-focused policies. We will continue to provide important policy updates throughout the 2021 Legislative Session. To receive Kempe Advocacy Updates via email, please sign up here.