By: Christopher Davis | Category: Other | Issue: December 2013
(L to R) Back row: Paul Smith, Cynthia Stubblefield, Cathi Murphy and Harold Thompson. Front row: Phyllis Bowen, Pam Ittner and Beverly Litterell.
This holiday season, Choices for Life Foster Care invites you to consider opening your heart and home to a child who needs your help.
Choices for Life is an agency that specializes in therapeutic foster care for children with unique needs. Working with DHS, the agency places children from traumatizing households with foster parents who are willing to go above and beyond usual expectations and provide loving homes that will encourage healing, learning and growth.
The need for qualified and responsible foster parents willing to take on relatively challenging cases is ongoing. Harold Thompson, clinical supervisor at CFL, is candid about the unique qualities they look for in potential foster parents. “They need to understand the reality of the situation,” he says. The cases that CFL takes on often involve heartbreaking stories, ranging from physical and emotional abuse to drug addiction in the household. Indeed, it takes a special type of person to not only consider stepping into such situations, but to commit to helping these children heal and learn how to live a life of normalcy.
There are a few basic steps that potential foster parents should expect as they consider working with CFL. Of course, the fundamental qualification is that you have a desire to foster a child and are prepared to begin making up for the lack of quality parenting in the child’s previous situation. Every potential parent goes through a DMV and background check. There is also an income study during the application process.
CFL is committed to ensuring that foster homes are focused on providing a healthy environment for these children and that potential parents are not viewing the situation as a means to balancing their household budget. Home inspections, likewise, are an important part of the application process, as CFL is committed to ensuring that children are moving to homes with adequate space and a healthy family environment. Interested parents should not be intimidated by all of this process, though, since CFL provides plenty of support and training.
“We provide rigorous training from the beginning,” says Mr. Thompson. “We also pair new families with mentor families, which we find eases a lot of the expected anxiety early on.” CFL builds on this foundation of support with ongoing training and regular meetings. These large meetings are intended to get families together and help build a social support network.
Comprehensive training and support is just one of the many facets of CFL’s unique approach to providing wraparound services for therapeutic foster care. Therapists meet with families in the home at least once per week. The agency provides 24-hour phone support as well. CFL works with schools to ensure appropriate attention and care is considered in the child’s academic environment – crucial in any child’s life. Treatment plans are updated every 90 days, ensuring families, therapists, schools and child are all on the same page and are attentive to the real-time needs of everyone involved. All of this combines to create a foster agency that exceeds standards and expectations and connects children with good homes.
If you have found yourself thinking about fostering or searching for a way to make a positive difference in the lives of children in need, then you owe it to yourself and the community to contact Choices For Life. There is no better time than the present to give the gift of a loving home to a child in need.
For more information, contact
Christopher Davis is an educator and musician, as well as a writer. A California native, he resides in Tulsa with his wife, two sons and a modest menagerie of pets. When he isn't inspiring young minds, you will most likely find him spending time with his family or playing drums and percussion with Project Huckleberry or the Movetet. In addition to Value News, Davis also writes for Currentland. You can view his work at https://seedavis.wordpress.com.