In Oklahoma, there are over 7,000 children placed into out of home placement. There are less than 2,000 foster homes. This disparity means that children from your community are being placed outside of their home community, or in shelters.
Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.
Children who are placed outside their home community in one day lose their parents, family, school friends, teachers, coaches, and sense of connection to their community. They frequently miss school so they can have visits, or they don’t see family because they need to be in school. This sense of loss is compounded when they cannot be placed with their brothers and sisters due to no one having enough room.
Foster parents are needed to take children of all ages. While 76% of children in care are under the age of 10, the hardest to find placement for are teenagers.
Foster parents who are willing to take sibling sets of 3 or more are greatly needed. Oklahoma needs over 400 families willing to take large sibling groups, according to OKDHS.
It’s an incredible opportunity to really pour into the next generation. And to show them something different.
– Stacy Wiebe
What Foster Parents Do
An important role for foster parents is to work with the child’s birth family (a concept known as “bridging”) towards the goal of reunification, and if that goal fails, to commit to raise/parent the child or assist in transition to an adoptive family.
The foster parent helps children to maintain permanent connections with their birth family, while acting as a mentor for that family. Foster care is a service provided to the child’s entire family. Foster families come from the same community as the child, are willing to accept and agree to visitation and other types of contact with siblings, relatives, and other important people in the child’s life.
Bridging with the family helps children to achieve permanence more quickly while enabling them to maintain connections with those who are important in their lives. The ability to maintain connections, and achieve permanency more quickly reduces the level of trauma children in out of home care experience.