Oklahoma lawmaker fighting to give foster parents more say

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OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma lawmaker is fighting to give foster parents more say.

Currently state law prevents foster parents from sharing a written report before review hearings, but Rep. Pat Ownbey’s bill would change that.

Angie Tarrant and her husband have been fostering two young kids for about a year now.

"It's been very positive, but there have been some challenging moments," Tarrant said.

You can imagine the attachment they have formed with the kids and the need to protect them.

"Ultimately you do love these children and you just want the best for them," Tarrant said.

The goal is to reunite the kids with their biological parents.

During regular review hearings the judge hears how the children are doing and if their biological parents are moving in the right direction.

For the review hearings the case worker submits a report to the judge, but the foster parents cannot.

"Who better to have a voice for that child than those people who have nurtured that child. Live with that child, sometimes 24 hours a day,"  Rep. Ownbey said.

If Rep. Ownbey has his way foster parents will be able to submit a written report to the judge before those hearings.

"Most of the foster parents that I visited with are frustrated because they don't have any kind of say so in the review hearing and they may know some things that the child is fearful about that they feel they need to let the judge know," Rep. Ownbey said.

"Whatever it is, if there's a change in behavior, you can see something and to be able to communicate that, which ultimately could help  because it's all about the kids, " Tarrant said.

The bill has already passed the House and is making its way to the Senate for approval.

 

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