In August 2012, there were 9,780 Oklahoma children placed in out of home care due to abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, out of Oklahoma’s 2,832 non-kinship foster homes, there were only 343 therapeutic foster care families available to the children who desperately need this specialized form of care.
Children who require therapeutic foster care need families committed to providing them safety, structure, and support as they heal from their past. Families who agree to bring foster children into their homes offer a sense of security and normalcy they may never have experienced before, making it okay for children to overcome their history and find success.
At this time, Oklahoma cannot fully meet the needs of the children and youth in foster care because there simply are not enough available foster homes in the state. Many children are on waiting lists for shelters and residential group home facilities, bouncing from temporary placement to temporary placement. The lack of stability and the constant change brought on by temporary placements detracts from the healing process and makes it more difficult for children and youth to focus on normal things, like being successful in school. Statewide, there is a goal to locate, train, and support 500 new foster families in the coming year, plus an additional 150 therapeutic foster families for children and youth in OKDHS’ custody by the end of this fiscal year.
Eagle Ridge Institute is looking for Oklahoma families who are willing to engage in the healing process for these children. Therapeutic Foster Care families will receive extensive training and support, to prepare every member of their family for the addition of a foster child. Interested families are never asked to fully commit to becoming a foster family until after they have completed training, so they may have all the information available.
Upon placement of a child into the home, families will receive regular support and services from the child’s therapist and a team of committed professionals devoted to the healing process, as well as ongoing training and support in the day to day parenting of the child. The need for families willing to support youth between the ages of 14-18 years is particularly high. Adolescents who do not receive the support of a family during these critical years often have a more difficult time successfully transitioning into adulthood and age out of the system alone and overwhelmed, never fully recognizing their potential or taking advantage of opportunities to be successful. Families are also needed who are willing to open their home to sibling groups of 2 or more children and children of all ages.
Eligible families are:
- Single or married
- At least 21 years of age
- Financially able to provide for their own family’s needs
- Free from a history of alleged or confirmed child abuse, neglect or sexual abuse
- Have a working vehicle and telephone