Agency responds to concerns regarding lack of participation in program for TANF clients
TOPEKA – Kansas Department for Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore is pleased to announce the launch of HOPE Mentoring for youth transitioning out of foster care. This is the second phase of the HOPE Mentoring program that was first announced in January, for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) clients.
“We are excited to roll out this portion of the program that is specifically designed to help youth in foster care as they transition to adulthood,” Secretary Gilmore said. “Many of these young people have no adult in their life who can offer them advice, serve as a support system and give them encouragement. This program provides mentors to youth to do just that.”
The Independent Living HOPE Mentoring program officially got underway July 1, six months after the program was announced for adults enrolled in the TANF cash assistance program. Since that launch, we’ve received great response from volunteer mentors within the community who want to help low-income adults achieve self-reliance. However, because this is a voluntary program, response has been low among our TANF clients.
DCF is now reevaluating the program to determine if incentivizing participation is appropriate or if making it mandatory among some or all TANF clients would help clients to realize the value in a mentor/mentee relationship.
“We believe this program can be a valuable tool for our clients,” Secretary Gilmore said. “As the program is only six-months old, we anticipated adjustments would be needed along the way. Moving forward, we will examine ways to improve participation and seek additional opportunities to support those we serve on their path to self-reliance.”
The HOPE Mentoring program was closely modeled after Mentoring 4 Success, a mentoring program developed by the Kansas Department of Corrections that since July 2011, has resulted in 7,208 mentor/mentee partnerships. In Juvenile Services, since July 2014, 171 matches have occurred. These relationships have produced many success stories.