OKLAHOMA CITY - A world where every child lives with a stable parent in their own home - it's the dream of Lilyfield, an organization helping families through adoption and foster care placement.
"What if the community empowers families so the kids never have to go into foster care?” said executive director Holly Towers.
Lilyfield started as a private adoption agency in 1990.
Since then, a partnership with DHS was added to help find foster families for children that go into the state system.
Towers said there are several reasons a child could end up in DHS custody. But, many times, it's due to lack of resources to help parents.
"We definitely know that substance abuse is a primary reason children come into care, but you also have issues that are just really inherent to poverty,” she said.
One of the areas of Oklahoma City with the highest rate of kids coming into foster care is south Oklahoma City.
That's why they just opened a facility there called EmpowerOKC.
"This room will be for connectors who will serve children at the school next door," Towers said.
The school will identify 25 students from Westwood Elementary who they think needs the resources. Lilyfield will offer their families services in five areas:
- Counseling and Mental Health Services
- Health and Wellness Initiatives
- Economic Development
All services will be free.
It's a private funded adoption and foster care agency that has big dreams to lessen the need for organizations like their own.
"What if the community empowers families so the kids never have to go into foster care?" Towers said.
The students will be identified next semester.
There are around 9,000 Oklahoma children in DHS custody now.
For more information, visit lilyfield.org/empowerokc.