Using the occasion presented by the second meeting of the Governor’s Social Services Policy Council (SSPC), the Governor announced that, in accordance with his vision for mentoring programs across all aspects of government, DCF will begin recruiting volunteers to provide guidance and encouragement to struggling families, as well as youth as they exit the foster care system.
“Many Kansans face serious struggles in their lives, and they need the support and guidance of someone who can walk with them as they pursue a better life,” said Governor Brownback. “Simply having that strong support system can make the difference.”
The program will use federal TANF funds to create five positions within DCF. Jim Echols will serve as Program Director of HOPE Mentoring. HOPE stands for Hope, Prosperity for Everyone. Four regionally-based coordinators will field applications from potential mentors and match them with DCF clients who request to participate in the program.
“We are honored to be assigned the task of administering the HOPE Mentoring program,” said DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore.
Gilmore said DCF’s immediate goal is to begin the process of pairing 1,100 volunteer mentors with 1,100 existing TANF clients.
DCF enlisted its first volunteer for the program at the policy council gathering –First Lady Mary Brownback. She signed a document officially making her the initiative’s “First Volunteer.”
DCF’s new HOPE Mentoring initiative is modeled after the Mentoring 4 Success program conducted by the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC), which was one of the Governor’s first initiatives in 2011. Mentoring 4 Success, which supports the reentry of offenders to Kansas communities, has helped reduce recidivism over the past four years.
Since its inception, Mentoring 4 Success has recruited and trained more than 4,500 volunteer mentors and made more than 6,500 pairings with returning citizens in transition to reentry.
“I’m excited to see how Mentoring 4 Success will serve as a model for HOPE Mentoring, so that we have more people achieving their dreams, creating a better life for themselves and their families,” said Brownback.