As of January 1, OKDHS said that there are more than 7,500 kids in state custody just in Oklahoma alone, with about 1,200 of them coming from Tulsa County. Foster Recruiter Comfort Keidel said these children come into their system for a range of reasons and sometimes even show up in the middle of the night. She said, sometimes the kids only need a home for a few days while others end up in the adoption route, but either way they need somewhere to stay fairly quickly after being taken from their parent(s).
Keidel said that in order to be in a good place where they have a diverse range of families to choose from, they need thousands more approved homes in Oklahoma.
She added that just because a child may be able to get placed with a family within a few hours does not mean that is the home they will stay in. DHS officials said some of those children are still in need of a temporary home that better suits their needs and lifestyle but there just simply are not enough approved foster homes within the state to easily place each child that comes in. Keidel said the biggest issue they see with child and foster parent differences in Oklahoma is the parent not being accepting with a child that is part of the LGBTQ community. She said children in that situation should feel safe to be themselves in the home, but that is not always the case.
If all resources are exhausted, she said as a last resort a child “may have to be sent to a group home, shelter, or inpatient facility in order to have a place with a roof over their head.”
According to DHS, their goal is to reunite the child with their biological parents when the situation is safe and in their best interest to do so. Keidel said they want more than anything to have foster family options when these kids most need a helping hand.
“We need far more than what we have, I would say double what we have because unfortunately what we find is not every foster home and every adoptive home is a good fit for a kid,” Keidel said.
She said that the pandemic has impacted their recruiting efforts since they can not do in-person information events, but hopes people will apply online to help change a child’s life.
More information on how to apply to become an approved foster home can be found by Clicking Here.