TULSA, Okla. — A home that plans to offer foster girls therapeutic services is hoping to open soon in Creek County.
Tulsa Girls home is just 10 days away from closing on their new home, but the organization is facing unexpected challenges, including zoning obstacles and push back from the community. Before they can open their doors to provide therapeutic services to girls in the foster care system, they must have a variance approved by Creek County, which grants them permission to operate.
“We’re asking the Creek County Commission and the Planning Board to define us and to open their arms and surround these girls and that’s really what we need,” Brittany Stokes, president and founder of Tulsa Girls Home said.
The home sits on what is considered agricultural land, which Stokes said the county requires a clear definition of its use. Tulsa Girls Home defines itself as a therapeutic residence that provides foster care services to girls between ages 12 to 18.
“These are not girls who chose to be in this situation. These are not troubled girls who are being dropped off. These are girls who really don’t have a home,” Stokes said.
In Creek County, however, there currently is no code for a place like this.
“Foster care homes would be a mom and a dad, but these girls that we are specifically taking in are girls who don’t have the ability to just transition into a stable foster care home,” she said.
Tulsa Girls Home applied for a variance, which would exempt them from some zoning standards.
“On Tuesday, there will be a board that meets and hears from Tulsa Girls Home and they will either approve the variance or not approve it,” Stokes said.
In order to get the variance approved, they need support from the community, specifically neighbors. She said some neighbors don't want the girls nearby.
"Sometimes people just don’t want these types of homes near them,” Stokes said.
Stokes said several complaints have been filed with the planning commission expressing concerns about the girls moving into the neighborhood. She said she's hoping the commission will grant the variance. If not, the home will stay empty.
Stokes said that's not the outcome they want, especially because these girls are already in a vulnerable position.
Tulsa Girls Home said the only other option would be to ask the planning commission to create a new zoning code, which would allow them to operate. That process could take months, even years.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --