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May is Foster Care Awareness Month

 


OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – May is nationally recognized as Foster Care Awareness Month and Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) often uses this month not only to raise awareness about the ways the community can support foster care, but also to celebrate the many caring Oklahomans who have stepped forward to become foster parents. Now, more than ever, children and their families need support and hope.

“During this season, we have to be intentional about taking moments to acknowledge and celebrate the things that are important to us,” said Dr. Deborah Shropshire, OKDHS child welfare director. “One of the many things I am so thankful for are our state’s nearly 4,200 foster families for the love, support and stability they bring to children in foster care and their families. I’m also celebrating the many families who have come into contact with Child Welfare, for whatever reason, but are working hard to fix circumstances in their homes so they can reunify with their kids. We know that this season is hard, but we also know families can be successful and heal.”

The theme of National Foster Care Month 2020 is “Foster Care as a Support to Families, Not a Substitute for Parents.” The goal of foster care is to offer supports to strengthen families so they can reunify, whenever safely possible. In state fiscal year 2019, 2,216 children left state care through reunification. This is the ultimate success both for OKDHS and for the families we served together with our community partners, because it means the families were able to use the services and tools they received to correct the conditions that led to the removal of their children. Foster families play a vital part in this process by offering support to the biological families and a safe, loving temporary home to the children in their care. Reunification also ensures children maintain long-term connections to their kin, culture and community, which are the overall goals of Child Welfare Services.

“When families have the support, tools and resources they need, they can be successful,” said Shropshire. “We see this every day in Child Welfare and will continue to be here to offer help and HOPE to the Oklahomans who need us. But, we also need the community’s help – neighbors helping neighbors so they can be successful. And that is where you might fit in.”

Whether that’s preparing a meal for a family, becoming a mentor or becoming a foster family yourself, everyone can do something to support foster care. To learn more about how you can support foster care or to connect with a foster care recruiter in your area, call 1-800-376-9729 or visit https://okfosters.org/. Follow OKDHS and Oklahoma Fosters on social media for videos and stories recognizing the importance of foster care and celebrating some of the state’s many foster families.

 

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