Senator Lankford: Oklahoma Needs More Foster Families
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued the following statement on National Foster Care Month (May) and the Oklahoma Fosters Initiative:
“National Foster Care Month is a time to raise awareness and think about the plight of vulnerable children currently in America’s foster care system. Children often come into care from very troubling situations; all of us are grateful for the many selfless foster parents, special advocates, mentors and social workers who patiently serve these children. To address our foster crisis, the state, tribal and local governments, businesses, nonprofits and the faith-based community must be united to work together. I continue to join Governor Fallin in encouraging families to consider foster care for the 10,500 children in our state’s foster care system. Oklahoma must be a place where every child can have a loving and stable family. Oklahoma will only be as stable and prosperous as the families in our state.”
On November 12, 2015, Governor Mary Fallin announced the Oklahoma Fosters Initiative, a statewide campaign to recruit families to consider foster care. The first goal of this campaign is to help the state Department of Human Services recruit at least 1,000 new foster families statewide by the end of June 2016. As of today, current recruitment trends suggest that this goal is within reach. Interested Oklahomans can learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent by visiting the Oklahoma Fosters website at www.OklahomaFosters.com and clicking on “Foster Care & Adoption” for information on being a foster or adoptive parent. They also can call the foster parent hotline at 1-800 376-9729.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there are about 400,000 children in the American foster care system, of which about 100,000 children are ‘legally free’ and waiting to be adopted. Each year, more than 20,000 children ‘age out’ of foster care without being adopted at all. According to data on foster children who ‘age out’ of the system, one in five will become homeless after age 18; only 58 percent will graduate high school by age 19; and fewer than 3 percent will earn a college degree by age 25. Seventy-one percent of young women who age out are pregnant by 21 years old.