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OKDHS raising awareness of foster care during pandemic

Helping children find loving homes
Posted at 9:19 AM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 10:19:42-04

TULSA, Okla. — The month of May is dedicated to raising awareness of foster care and helping children find loving homes.

Although the pandemic has changed the way services are offered to foster parents, one thing that remains constant is the need for more families.

In Oklahoma there are about 7,700 kids in the custody of the state, and about 1,700 kids in care in the Tulsa metro area.

Some of the children may have experienced abuse, neglect or a family crisis and had to be removed from their homes.

"It takes a village to raise a child and we all need that support," says Comfort Keidel, a foster care recruiter for the Oklahoma Department of Human Service (OKDHS).

During National Foster Care Month, OKDHS seeks to provide resources for current foster families and help new parents on a new journey.

Their monthly support groups have moved virtually since the coronavirus outbreak. The home assessments that are normally done in person are now being done online via Zoom or Facetime to follow social distancing guidelines.

In addition, the department has increased the monthly stipend for each foster child to ease any financial burden for parents during this time of uncertainty.

“Once we find a home for children, maintaining that home and providing excellent customer service to the foster parents is super important," says Keidel.

She ways the goal is to find kids homes that will hopefully help them heal and reunify them with their families.

Currently, there are more than 898 families needed in 2020, but this number keeps fluctuating. It's still unclear if there will be an increase due to the pandemic.

For more information on foster care, you can visit the Oklahoma Fosters website and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

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