Each year, Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) collaborates with multiple community organizations across the state to fulfill the holiday hopes of children and youth in state custody. Like all children, those in foster care anxiously await their visit from Santa or dream of that special gift waiting for them under the tree. COVID-19 has impacted how all Oklahomans work and live, and although things will operate differently this year, it has not impacted the ability for OKDHS and others to bring the magic of the season to children in foster care and their foster families.
“It’s incredibly important to me that kids who are in foster care understand that they are seen and valued,” said Dr. Deborah Shropshire, OKDHS Child Welfare Director. “Like everything we do now, the holidays are going to be a time where we just have to be willing to get creative and improvise to keep the magic alive. COVID-19 has certainly impacted our work and how our community partners operate. Even though things might look a little different this year, we’re deeply thankful to the donors who continue to rally to generously support our children and families to bring joy and a sense of normal during the holiday season.”
Families who foster or are in the process of adopting, and are not receiving support from an organization in their community should complete a resource request form at this website. Some organizations will be fulfilling child(ren)’s gift wish lists while others are requesting gift cards to support contactless donations. Foster families who are already working with an organization should continue to do so.
Oklahomans who are looking to be connected to an organization in order to make a donation should email HolidayHope@okdhs.org or reach out to OKDHS via social media.
Oklahoma needs more families to step forward to foster local children in state custody, particularly those in large sibling groups, teens and children with behavioral health needs. Families interested in learning more about foster care or applying to become a certified foster family may visit okfosters.org to be connected to a recruiter in their area, or visit okbenefits.org to make application immediately. Follow the prompts on the website to make application or call 1-800-376-9729 to speak to someone by phone. Interested Oklahomans may also visit ourokdhs.org to raise their hand and join the agency’s efforts to better serve the community through innovation and collaborative partnerships.