TULSA, Okla. — Why not you?
That’s the question the Oklahoma Department of Human Services is asking as it works to find homes for foster children. Specifically those who need a bit of extra help.
Growing up, Helena Crawford’s parents took in foster children. Now, she has two foster daughters of her own.
“They have challenges every day, you know, so you have to pick your battles on certain days," Crawford said. "Then other days are really good days.”
Crawford’s part of the Therapeutic Foster Care program, or TFC. It's a special program for foster children working through emotional or behavioral issues related to trauma they’ve gone through.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is searching for more people like Crawford to foster. Trese Florence, TFC Program Director of Oklahoma Families First, said there’s currently a waiting list of 50 children looking for a therapeutic foster family.
“These kids have been through a lot and need some extra guidance and support and reassurance while they’re working on their treatments," Florence said.
Children in the TFC program require more specialized therapeutic services, which isn't easy during the pandemic. Crawford said distance learning threw off her girls' routines, which caused them to struggle. But she's already seeing a lot of change in them.
“One of them, that I've had the longest, she has changed entirely a lot from the struggles that she was going through, just through the stability that she’s had. You know, being in a stable home and everything," Crawford said.
Being a TFC parent can be challenging. Becoming one requires 36 hours of training with additional training every year. But, there is support from DHS and other agencies.
Florence and Crawford agree that it’s rewarding to make these children part of a family.
“Put yourself in the position of these kids and the fear that they live with every day, not being with their families, not knowing what’s going to happen, now knowing what their future is," Florence said.
“Once they get the children in their home, they’ll see how much impact that they have on them and the love that they can give to them on the daily basis," Crawford said.
For more information about being a Therapeutic Foster Care parent, call 1-800-376-9729 or click here.
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