COWETA, Okla. — As of May 1, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services has nearly 7,500 children in custody.
That includes children in state custody, nearing reunification with their biological families, and entering adoptive homes. New children enter OKDHS custody every day.
The department has close to 4,200 foster families and more are needed. The hope is to have foster families ready and waiting all over the state so that foster children can remain in their local communities. This reduces trauma for the child and facilitates easier visitation with the family.
May is National Foster Care Month. OKDHS wants to remind the community that foster families play a vital part in providing a safe, loving temporary home for the children in their care.
“The last year has been incredibly hard, but it has also helped us collectively remember to get back to basics. Healthy, meaningful connections are critical for our mental and physical health, but many Oklahoma families do not naturally have these kinds of support systems, pandemic or not. I’m proud of our state’s nearly 4,200 foster families, and thankful for the love, support, and stability they bring to children in foster care and their families," said Dr. Deborah Shropshire, OKDHS Child Welfare Director.
The goal of the foster care system is to reunify children with their biological families, when safely possible. In the state fiscal year 2020, more than 1,900 children left state care through reunification.
“I challenge all Oklahomans to consider how they can support their neighbors and communities to help families before they come into crisis,” Shropshire said. “We can’t do this work without your help.
To learn more about foster care or to connect with a foster care recruiter, call 1-800-376-9729 or visit the Oklahoma Fosters' website.
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