The state of Oklahoma has partnered with faith based organizations to help churches minister to these families in great need. Not often does the state ask for help from churches. They have provided a lot of ways to help us meet the needs of those the state no longer has the resources to help. One of these initiatives is the CarePortal. The CarePortal connects churches with DHS in order to communicate needs. Washington County is the 4th county in Oklahoma to go live. I am now receiving requests from local DHS workers when they have needs. I recently got to help purchase some basic necessities for a grandmother who just took custody of her four grandchildren. I will soon begin forwarding these requests to our LifeGroup leaders. I hope that each of our LifeGroups will talk about how they can help and be ready to respond when a need is forwarded. If you want to help with a specific request just reply back to me and I will work out the logistics.
Another large need for foster families is for respite. In order for foster children to stay the night at someone’s house they must go through training and screening to be approved by DHS. It is a hassle and takes time. However, those with foster kids need to be able to get away for a day or two. Fostering is mentally difficult and puts a strain on the relationships of all in the family. There is not a better way to help than being able to give foster families time to refresh. If there is a family emergency these foster families cannot leave the children unless they have approved respite. We have several families in our church who foster children. We are all givers and not good at asking for help. I guarantee if you go through the training with DHS you will be used and you will be a huge blessing. Being a traditional foster home is not the only way to help with this huge Oklahoma crisis. Hopefully these two options answer the question of how to help. Thank you for your encouragement and support. My family could not help these children without you.