OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s Pinnacle Plan to improve DHS points out the need for 500 new foster families by the end of June 2013. The process isn’t easy though and everyone from the OSBI to the FBI is involved in making sure children are placed with the right family.
“It is a bit complicated, but the safety of children depend upon the processes that we go through to make sure they have safe places to go,” DHS spokesperson Sheree Powell said.
Powell said there are background checks, a home study and a lot of training.
Foster parent, Lisa Feist, says she spent 27 hours in training.
“For five Saturdays, we went and took foster care parent training classes,” Feist said.
However, she said the longest process was the home study, which ranges anywhere from four to six months, depending on DHS staffing.
“When you know your child is waiting for you, for you to care for, whatever that length of time is, waiting for that study to come back or waiting for the next step can be frustrating,” Feist said.
Everyone agrees that each step is crucial to ensure the safety of foster children.
“We want to make sure that children who have been traumatized and abused are placed in the safest and most appropriate place for them,” Powell said.
For Feist, the long process was worth it and she hopes more people will step forward.
“You just have to trust that that’s the way it was supposed to happen and that God’s hand is in it and he has a plan for that child,” Feist said.
While children are waiting to be placed with a family, they remain in a shelter or an existing foster home.
Foster parents are given a monthly reimbursement rate, depending on the age of each child.
State leaders hope to increase that amount over the next few years.