Community collaboration provides nutrition and HOPE for child in foster care
OKDHS leadership and staff often remark that we cannot do this work alone. Fortunately, community partners across the state continually raise their hands to join us in service to the Oklahomans who need us most. Additional helping hands may also come from colleagues in another program area whose shared hearts of service call them to help address a customer’s need. For the past few years, Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) and its partner agencies have increased collaboration with Child Welfare Services (CWS) around a shared goal of supporting vulnerable children. They have demonstrated their unity through multiple efforts to place children in safe and caring homes, and have called upon one another to find additional resources to meet the needs of children in state care.
Recently, a child in state custody in Idabel had a need for a nutritional supplement, but the child’s group home had trouble procuring it. While the child’s physician’s office worked to help the group home, the child’s Permanency Planning Specialist reached out to M.J. Major, Child Welfare Specialist in the Educational Services and Developmental Disabilities Programs Unit, to let her know about the need and ask for assistance in identifying a resource.
Major began calling multiple county resources and could find no one with a supply of the supplement to meet this need. She then thought to reach out to Emma Glasgow, DDS Residential Programs Manager, as they had worked together on multiple efforts to recruit foster families.
“I am so grateful to have built a connection with Emma,” said Major. “She really showed up and showed out that day for our child.”
After learning about the need, Glasgow quickly set to work searching for the supplement. She contacted six different resources in her quest, until she found community partner, Kristy Mobbs at INCA Community Services, Inc. As a Community Action Agency, INCA has a small medical closet where they maintain an inventory of regularly-needed items for individuals they serve locally. Mobbs dropped what she was doing and checked the agency’s medical closet. She was so happy to confirm that she had the supplement and could share it with this child. Mobbs even offered to meet the worker mid-way to ensure the child had the supplement quickly.
“I was super excited to facilitate communication between community partners that resulted in meeting the unexpected needs of a child in the community,” said Glasgow. “I am proud of the many ways we work together to ensure children have what they need to be successful.”
In the end, Major and Glasgow were able to work with Tonya Blankenship, Specialized Placements and Partnership Unit Supervisor, and Mobbs to arrange delivery of the supplement to the child.
“INCA is glad to be able to offer this great service,” said Mobbs. “I am so thankful we could provide the needed supplement for this child, and to be here as a resource for others in the future. I am thankful that Emma reached out and we had the needed item in our food bank and medical lending closet.”