Southwestern Youth Services in Altus is working hard to find foster families for the children is state custody. Their motto is, “Every child deserves a family every day.”
In an effort to match up children with families, they are hosting FYI Foster Care Night on Tuesday, Feb. 2, starting at 7 p.m., in their offices on the 5th floor of the National Bank of Commerce building, 123 W. Commerce.
The two types of child placement programs provided by SWYS are emergency host homes, and foster care, for children ages birth to 17 years old. Emergency host home children may stay up to 30 days, or until other arrangements are made. Foster care children stay until they are reunited with the biological family, or a permanent plan can be made for them. There are many couples that are currently foster care families with the mission of adopting the children.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, along with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (ODHS), kicked off the Oklahoma Fosters initiative on Nov. 12, 2015 in Oklahoma City to recruit more foster and adoptive parents for children in state custody. Fallin said, “There are nearly 11,000 children in Oklahoma’s foster care system and we desperately need the help of our entire community to care for them. These children are in state custody through no fault of their own. They need foster families to love and support them during their time of need.”
SWYS Foster Care Director Woodine Roudebush said sometimes children are removed from their homes with noone to care for them. They may have no clothes or shoes. “It is very traumatizing that they are suddenly without a family, home or stability,” said Roudebush.
SWYS is striving to increase the awareness of the desperate need for foster care families and host homes. At the SWYS FYI Foster Care Night individuals will learn ways to help, ways the programs are funded, and the qualifications for becoming a foster parent. The OKDHS foster care report released on Sept. 1, 2015 shows 72 Jackson County children in and out of home placement.
SWYS works closely with the Jackson County Department of Human Service caseworkers to provide safe, loving homes for the children in state custody. SWYS Executive Director Jeanne Brandon said, “We all take the journey together because becoming a foster care or emergency host home parent can be scary and overwhelming.”
To learn more about helping the children in state custody, or SWYS Foster Care Night call (580)482-2809.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221 ext. 2077