By: Lorrie Jackson | Category: Other | Issue: December 2006
The staff at Choices for Life invites you to consider making a lasting change in a child’s life in the coming year.
During the holidays, hearts and thoughts turn to giving. Often people spend a lot of time and effort buying gifts that are enjoyed for a short period of time and then tossed aside for a newer gadget or experience. But what if a person could channel that time and energy into an endeavor that would produce lasting results, ones that would be remembered for a lifetime?
The holidays are a perfect time to consider becoming a foster parent for children who have been tossed aside by life’s circumstances. “We tend to get a lot more kids in the system during December due to the stress of the holiday,” says Leslie Yocham, supervisor of Choices for Life in Sapulpa. “All the shelters are overfull.”
Choices for Life Therapeutic Foster Care Program provides specialized in-home treatment for children and youth with multiple psychological, social and emotional needs. These children can accept and respond to familial relationships, but they have special needs that require more intensive and therapeutic care than can be found in traditional foster care.
“To do what we do, you have to be really empathetic, open-minded and committed,” says Leslie, who also points out that at Choices for Life, they try to see things from both the perspective of the displaced child and their biological parents. “We help promote reunification. We don’t want children to just be pulled out of their homes without hope of ever being reunited with their parents again.”
Those who desire to make a difference in the life of a child through this incredible program will be fully trained at Choice’s for Life’s expense so that they can provide children with a safe environment that fosters healthy growth. Choices for Life assures prospective foster parents that, “Our qualified staff will be with you providing clinical services, partnering with you on educational advocacy, court advocacy and therapeutic support.” Some of the services offered to treatment parents include: pre-certification and on-going training and support, screening and matching of treatment parents and children, 24 hour availability for additional support/crisis services, respite care for treatment parents, support group and family therapy and monetary assistance/reimbursement. Treatment parents must meet both Choices for Life and Oklahoma State licensing regulations. Some of the requirements that must be met: applicants must be at least twenty-one years old, have a regular family income before foster care reimbursements and be able to provide bedroom space for the children. Prospective parents must then complete a background check, home study and the Choices for Life training program.
Choices for Life in Sapulpa has experienced such phenomenal growth in the last couple of years that they recently had to move from their downtown location to a much larger facility on Mission Street. “Two and a half years ago, there were eight families and eight children being served through this office,” says Leslie. “Now there are 48 families and 63 children in our system, with 154 families in CFL statewide.” These are encouraging numbers because research has indicated that in order to reach these children, there is a need for a “comprehensive, community based, family focused system of care for troubled children and youths. The development of such a system is now becoming a national goal.”
This is a successful system that Leslie Yocham is glad to be a part of. “I feel as if I’m making a real difference at Choices for Life,” she says. For more information on how you can give a child one of the greatest gifts of all this holiday season, the hope of a stable and loving home, contact Choices for Life in Sapulpa today.