“Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best they can possibly be.” This quote comes from Rita Pierson, an educator and public speaker who has many years of experience working with the community. Every child does deserve a champion adult in their live who is going to provide all necessary means to make sure that child is getting the best that he or she can possibly receive. Does this champion adult sound like you or anyone that you know of? If so, this is a big and great deal! Being a foster care provider is such a wonderful thing that you can do to provide for a child in need right now! We are going to take a look at Oklahoma foster care today to provide you with great information to help you along your journey!
First, we are going to take a look at many different resources that may help you get informed specifically with Oklahoma foster care. Below are many helpful links provided by Adoption.com that focus specifically on foster care information and guidelines. These resources will better assist you with learning all about foster care and what to expect before making specific decisions on your Oklahoma foster care journey.
The articles listed above provide many different resources that will assist you. Some of these include foster forums, waiting child photolistings, special needs and attachment forums. You will also find a link that directs you to a guide for becoming a foster parent.
These resources will provide you with many different views and information regarding Oklahoma foster care. One article provides an interesting look at foster care from the many different perspectives of people who are involved. These parties include the following: social workers, Child Protective Services or Department of Children and Families employees, biological parents, foster parents, foster children, education professionals, and more. So you are able to see answers and views to many questions within the foster care system from each related prospective. This will give you an overall idea of how the different roles of foster care view the overall Oklahoma foster care system. You will also find links that provide information regarding who can become a foster parent as well as information on the future of foster care.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, there are currently 7,973 children in DHS custody. As of this year, 910 foster families are currently needed for Oklahoma foster care. These remarkable numbers automatically let us know that there is a great need for Oklahoma foster care families to provide for the thousands of children needing care, stability, and love. Actually, it seems with these numbers that Oklahoma is in a crisis right now for foster care services.
Oklahoma Fosters help prospective and current providers for Oklahoma foster care. This organization works with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services as well as many other government, business, faith, and nonprofit organizations in order to help this crisis in Oklahoma foster care. You will find many helpful resources on their website. One of the great tools I found was that they provide an extensive question and answer list specifically regarding Oklahoma foster care. Below are the questions that you will find answers to. So, if you have been asking these questions and looking for some of these answers, visit their frequently asked questions page here.
- What is a foster family?
- What is foster care?
- Do I have to be married?
- Do I have to own my own home?
- Who are the children in state care, in foster care or awaiting adoption?
- Why must children wait?
- What are the costs of becoming a foster care or adoptive parent?
- Do I get to choose which child(ren) is/are placed in my home?
- What type of support services are provided after a child is placed in my home?
- Do my foster children have medical insurance?
- Do I have to meet the birth family?
- When reunification is the plan, do I have to help the family get their child(ren) home?
- Do I have to communicate with the birth family about how their child is doing in my home?
- Do I have to support or model parenting for the birth family during visits and interactions?
- Do I have to ensure the child(ren) and their family see one another?
- Do I have to help the child maintain connections to people who matter to them?
- Do I have to have the birth family in my home?
- Do I have to visit the birth family’s home?
- Who takes the child(ren) to visits?
- How will I receive my reimbursement?
- How do I view how much is on my Oklahoma Foster Care Reimbursement Card?
- How do I pull money off of my Oklahoma Foster Care Reimbursement Card?
- What items can I buy with the reimbursement?
- Who can watch my foster children?
- Can my foster child(ren) spend the night at a friend’s house?
- How do I report an issue?
- How often will the worker make unannounced visits?
- Is counseling covered under the child(ren)’s insurance?
- Who can request a Court Appointed Special Advocate?
- Who can request a family team meeting?
- Can I write a court report? If so, who do I submit the report to and when?
Types of Oklahoma Foster Care
There are four different types of foster care in the state of Oklahoma. Depending on the circumstances of each case, a child may be designated in need of one of these different types of foster care. You may want to get well-informed of all of the different types of foster care and learn more about each one in case you are able to provide.
1. Traditional Foster Care
Traditional foster care provides a full temporary care placement in a substitute home environment for children in DHS custody from birth to 18 years old. Traditional foster homes are provided with support in the following areas: medical, daycare, training, and other resources. Foster care families are reimbursed for providing these services for children in need.
2. Therapeutic Foster Care
Therapeutic foster care is a specialized type of foster care for children between the ages of 4 and 18 years old (school-aged children) who require additional therapeutic services than most traditional foster care children. Some of these children have additional and special psychological, social, behavioral, and emotional needs. The TFC program is always looking for strong families who are able to help foster and heal these children. The goal is for these children to hopefully transition into traditional foster care.
3. Specialized Foster Care
Specialized foster care is another specialized type of foster care for children between the ages of 4 and 18 years old (school-aged children) who have been diagnosed with intellectual disabilities. These children qualify for developmental disabilities services, and need extra love, care, and support. Oklahoma foster care families providing SFC care receiving more resources such as specialized training, medical consultations, specialized therapies, mental health supports, and full medical coverage. SFC providers are typically reimbursed at higher rate due to provider’s extra time and attention needed for the child.
4. Agency Companion Services
Agency companion services provide a living arrangement for an adult with disabilities to share a home with someone who is able to provide support for the adult. Of course, there are regulations that must be met in order for this to be successful.
So, how do you get started to become a provider for Oklahoma foster care, and are you eligible? Let’s take a closer look at the requirements to becoming a provider for Oklahoma foster care. First, you need to be at least 21 years old and a legal resident of the many Oklahoma counties. It doesn’t matter what your marital status is—you may be single, married, legally separated, or divorced.
However, if you are married, you must be married for at least one year prior to becoming a foster parent. You do not need to own your own home, you may rent, but you must have stable income. You must be in good physical and mental health. You must be able to provide the sufficient amount of beds and bedrooms for children. You will be submitted to an extensive criminal history search including fingerprint search for everyone who is an adult in the home. No household member can have a prior conviction of any type of sexual offense. You must have a working telephone and vehicle. You must be able to love, care for, and provide for the needs of foster children. You will absolutely need to go through foster parent training initially and anually. Fortunately, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services provides training for foster parents for free!
Foster Parent Training
The purpose of foster parent training is to ensure that foster families receive all of the proper information and knowledge needed in order to foster. Foster parent pre-service training is required and must be completed prior to becoming a foster parent. According to the Oklahoma Fosters site, this training will cover the following areas:
- ”Protecting and nurturing the children who have been abused, emotionally maltreated, or neglected;
- ”Methods to promote healthy development;
- ”The importance of promoting safety for children who have experienced trauma;
- ”Supporting relationships between children and their parents, siblings, and kin, as specified by DHS; and
- ”Connecting children to safe, nurturing relationships and collaborating with DHS as a team member”
Additionally, each foster parent is required to complete 12 hours of training each year. This is called foster parent in-service training. For this training, there are many different resources available to complete this requirement that will enhance your overall quality of fostering. According to the Oklahoma Fosters site, here are several ideas of what type of training is available and counts towards this annual training.
- Workshops, conferences, and seminars
- Support groups
- Peer meetings and gatherings
- Parent skills training
- Independent study
- Videos and webinars, computer-based training, listening to podcasts
- Medical and developmental care skills training
Out of the thousands of children who are currently in DHS custody, there are 557 children currently waiting for forever homes. Fostering to adopt may be an amazing option for your family and for a foster child in need. A child may need a permanent home and forever family under many different circumstances. Although the main goal of foster care is helping children and biological families successfully come back together, the circumstances may not always be conducive to that. A child may not be able to go back with their biological family, and the reasons are usually devastating. However, these are times when loving families can step up and provide that forever home for a child. With all of that being said, throughout your Oklahoma foster care journey, you may find yourself also exploring adoption. There are many tools and resources for you to help with adoption in Oklahoma and to understand the processes and regulations. I have included three links below that will better assist you with that information.
Since adoption laws and processes are regulated by state, adoption information needs to be state specific. The links provided above are going to provide you with loads of information regarding adoption in Oklahoma with many different additional links that can further assist you. Also included is a forum that specifically focuses on adoption processes in Oklahoma. Here you will find many other people within the adoption community who have questions or answers or helpful resources for other adoption community members. These are great places to start if you are looking into fostering to adopt in the state of Oklahoma. Or if you would love to just increase your knowledge on the subject or become part of the adoption community, these are also great places to start. Foster care and adoption are both beautiful ways to provide for a child who is need of a loving and caring atmosphere.
Visit Adoption.com’s photolisting page for children who are ready and waiting to find their forever families. For adoptive parents, please visit our Parent Profiles page where you can create an incredible adoption profile and connect directly with potential birth parents.