TFC agencies offer HOPE to youth in foster care and their biological and foster families
The saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” means so much more when a child is in foster care. Every day in Oklahoma, children enter the foster care system through no fault of their own and a “village” of people stand waiting to support them and their families as they heal. With a genuine desire to be the change for their communities and offer help and HOPE when all seems lost, Child welfare heroes, private agency partners and foster families step into this work not for the paycheck, but because it is their calling to serve.
OKDHS is in the midst of a campaign, “Why Not You,” to recruit more Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) families for Oklahoma’s children. The TFC program assists school-aged children who need more specialized therapeutic services to improve their well-being. The foster families who serve children in this level of foster care provide the additional support and healing children need to thrive, but Oklahoma needs more individuals to say yes to TFC. When they do, a private agency partner like Homebased Services and Resources (HBSR) will be ready to take their hand and guide them on their way to be the difference for a child in TFC.
Recently, a youth in foster care was discharging from the hospital and quickly needed a TFC placement to support them. Diana Shores, HBSR Executive Director, and her team jumped into action to find a family who could help this youth reach their short and long-term goals, including completing Job Corps. Not only did her team find a TFC family, but the agency also helped the family complete some construction on their home to accommodate the youth’s placement. Her team supported the youth, foster family and OKDHS throughout the transition from hospital to home placement, meeting virtually with everyone along the way to ensure the youth was comfortable and everyone could be successful with this placement.
“Diana and her team are a true reflection of hope, community partnership and integrity,” said Jerrell Hoffman, Child Welfare District Director. “When faced with challenging situations, Diana sees past the challenges, does not hesitate and never gives up. A reassuring statement I have heard Diana say many times is, ‘let me see how we can help.’”
This story represents the many happening each day within the TFC program where a village of people like Shores and HBSR step forward to support a youth in foster care. You may have even seen some recent news stories featuring TFC foster families with Oklahoma Families First, Inc. or Open Arms discussing the need for more foster families just like them. TFC agencies like these work alongside OKDHS and the families and children we serve together to help children heal. The extra love and work these agencies pour into their TFC families help youth succeed in their homes while also offering the skills and resources youth need to be successful in life. Visit https://okfosters.org/foster-care/therapeutic-foster-care/ to learn more about each of the agencies supporting TFC.
“After 25 years of working in TFC, it is still my passion and my heart,” said Shores. “I have so much respect for the individuals and couples who step outside their box for foster children who need extra support, guidance, and consistency. It takes a village to meet a child where they are and to understand that it's about what happened to you rather than why do you act this way. I'm so proud that our clinical team is a big part of that village and their willingness to be trained in evidenced-based therapy modalities. The entire HBSR team is grateful to be a partner with OKDHS and with the other TFC providers as we do this important work for children.”
To learn more about the agencies supporting TFC or to find out how you can be a TFC foster family, call 1-800-376-9729 or visit beaneighbor.ok.gov. The right family can provide the tools a child needs to heal. Why not you?
Do you have a HOPE hero story you'd like us to share? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.