Welcome and thank you for taking the first step in learning more about the Oklahoma Fosters Initiative – Oklahoma’s need for foster families and considering taking this crucial and compassionate step forward.
Growing up, I can still remember the late-night telephone calls that my mom received when she worked as a social worker for the Department of Human Services and frequently needed to deal with the emergency placement of a child. As my mom prepared to leave, I had a simple wish: That there would be a safe, loving home for these children to go to temporarily.
I still have that wish today. That’s why DHS and I recently launched a new initiative called Oklahoma Fosters to make my wish a reality. Oklahoma Fosters is a statewide campaign uniting state, tribal and local governments, businesses, nonprofits and the faith-based community to educate and recruit loving families to end the foster care crisis in Oklahoma.
There are nearly 9,500 children in the Oklahoma foster care system and we desperately need the help of all Oklahomans to care for these children.
These children are placed in state custody through no fault of their own. These children need foster families to love and support them during their time of need.
DHS is employing many strategies to reduce the numbers of kids in foster care and try to prevent children from coming into care, when safely possible. But there are still many children who are in dangerous circumstances that must be moved into a loving home. For this reason, we need new foster families.
Our goal is to reduce abuse and neglect, minimize moves for children and reduce the use of shelters for abandoned or abused children. Also, we hope to see more successful adoptions especially for older youth aging out of the system without a permanent family to take care of them.
It’s my wish – and hopefully yours, too – that with your help, we can usher in a new day in our state where no child in need is ever waiting on a family. Instead, a long line of families is waiting to take care of a child in need.