A Care Portal Story

We are so excited about the Care Portal coming to Tulsa!  This is a great story about what God is doing through this simple tool in Kansas.  Come on Tulsa!  Let’s change our city!  People are worth it!

If your church is interested in signing up and being a part of what God is doing in the city please visit our Care Portal page at www.111tulsa.org/CarePortal

 

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Oct 2nd, Children Falling through the Cracks

We wanted to share about a “scenario” that happened yesterday in our city.

A police officer picks up a youth because of suspicious activity during daylight hours in Tulsa.  As the police officer does the investigation it is found out that the child is on the NCIC missing person list.  The officer attempts to contact all listed information on the list and is not able to get a hold of anyone who is a contact for the child.  The officer then proceeds to see if they can place the child in the Laura Dester Shelter because it is in the past a place where these children can go.  Since the shelter is closed the child can not go there.  The police officer then proceeds to call other youth shelters that are run by different private organizations.  None are able to take this youth.  Then the officer proceeds to contact the juvenile detention center as an option.  Because the child has done nothing wrong they can not keep and advocate for the child.  So what is the officer supposed to do?  There are crimes to be prevented, research to be done, streets to be patrolled…..  He/She opens the door to the patrol car and tells the child to get out…..

We don’t have an answer for these difficult “potential scenarios” but we believe that as a community we can figure these things out if given the option.  If you care about child trafficking, if you care about vulnerable children, if we want to prevent the types of crimes that are daily on the cover pages of news and media outlets, then get involved.  Get educated.  Begin serving and learning more about these children in our local group homes and shelters.  Foster, adopt, become a CASA worker, work in legislation, serve a local case worker, support a police officer or fire fighter knowing that the scenarios that they are in daily are sometimes more than they can handle.  Don’t turn a blind eye, don’t wipe your hands and say that it is someone else’s problem because no child should ever “fall through the cracks.”  Let’s make sure we have a plan and kids in our state have the best amount of care and opportunity available to them.

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Oct 1st 2015 – First Steps to the Shelter Closing

Today marks the official day that DHS plans to start “closing” the Laura Dester children’s shelter.  Although operations will continue most likely for some months ahead, DHS’s plan is to see that no more children are admitted. We are excited about what this could mean for Oklahoma children.  Our prayer has always been that no child would have to experience institutionalized care but can be placed in a safe and loving foster or kinship family.  Although we believe we have one of the nicest shelter facilities and a great shelter staff we just know that this situation is just not ideal for these kids.  We believe in the vision that no child in Oklahoma should be waiting for a family but rather families waiting on children.

So today marks the day that things begin to really change.  As of last night children that typically go to the shelter were not able to go there.  The hope is that there is enough foster families.  Our concern is that there is still not enough right foster families that will be the best fit for the children in the shelter or entering the system.  The most logical question that gets asked next is where will these children go?  To be honest, we don’t completely have that answer yet.  We want to assume that a plan is in place but ultimately we don’t know.  We do know that we all are responsible as a community to see that a plan is not only in place but implemented on in a way that provides better care.  So here are the questions that we are asking in the new world without a shelter and we hope you would ask too.

  1. Where are the children that get brought into protective custody going to go if there is no available foster family for them.
  2. What happens to children that run away from the shelter but then want to come back?  Are they allowed to return and if not where will they go?
  3. Who bears the weight of both not having a shelter and not having enough right foster homes.  Will it be our police department holding these kids in custody longer, a DHS case worker staying for long hours with a child until a home is found, a juvenile detention center?
  4. What has changed that has allowed us to be able to close the shelter now and not be able to in the past.  One statistic that brings concern to us is the continual decline of foster homes that we have available from a height of 824 available homes in Tulsa in 2014 to less than 500 as of recent.

Lastly, don’t forget the almost 40 children that are still at our shelter.  Although the shelter is not receiving additional children the children that are at the shelter need our support.  So does its staff.  If you are still looking for ways to volunteer we know they would love your help and if you are interested in being a foster or adoptive family we would love to connect you to the children in our state that need a family!

Here is the link to fill out our – Foster & Adoption Connection Form

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Current State of Child Welfare Services

On Thursday, February 26th, 111Tulsa had the opportunity to attend the Child Welfare Services partner meeting in OKC.  Overall we are really excited about the energy and involvement of community organizations in this meeting.  The meeting was designed to begin gathering ideas but then also creating action plans on which to continue to encourage positive changes on the state of foster care in our state.

We were all asked to be prepared to talk about the following chart below.  We were excited about the progress that the 111Tulsa community and other partners were making towards really filling in some of the below gaps.

We have attached the following to begin the conversation with some of you and involve you in the process.  Secondly, we have attached a pdf of the powerpoint presented at this meeting that includes some of the current statistics on the current state of foster care.   Obviously, this information shows the long road that we still have ahead of us but it does show that we are making some progress.  We would encourage everyone to keep the discussion positive, looking for solutions for the future not complaints about the past.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” – Philippians 3:13

Link to Child Welfare Update PowerPoint

Child Welfare Partners “Homework” for February 26

 

Topic Area What is your organization currently doing related to this topic? What could your organization possibly do to address this topic? As a community, what else should we be doing to address this topic?
Preventing removals when it’s safe to do so

 

 

Recruiting AND supporting foster parents

 

 

Reducing reliance on shelter care

 

 

 

Safely achieving reunification or other permanency options sooner for children

 

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National Orphan Sunday Day – November 2nd 2014

One of the most exciting things that can happen in the greater “church” is when we all collaborate voluntarily for a cause. We at 111Tulsa hope that you would consider encouraging your church to participate in this years Orphan Sunday on November the 2nd. We believe it is the voice of local pastors and church leaders that encourage congregants to get involved. Check out www.orphansunday.org for more information. We were all orphans so we take care of orphans.

Orphan Sunday 2014 from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

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Salsa De Mayo

Looking for a fun way to get involved with foster care or adoption. Come to the first ever Salsa De Mayo event on May 5th at the Maybee Center. Proceeds go to support the Adopt(ed) ministry at theChurch.at.

For more information visit
http://www.salsademayo.com/

SalsaDeMayo

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Getting Started

What are you compelled to do?  For us at 111Tulsa there is a compelling that is pushing us beyond what is just accepted as a problem that will never change.  A problem that is just at the edge of what we believe is solvable but just large enough that it promotes inaction.  So we are getting started.  We are choosing action.

At first, we know we will be doing a lot of listening, a lot of connecting, a lot of learning…… but we believe wholeheartedly that what we will see is that this generation of churches will rise up to make what was a problem no more.  That is, to make sure that every child in Tulsa county, who needs a home has a home.  A safe, God fearing, community supporting home.

So what is holding you back?  Fear, complacency, choas, or just the lack of direction.  Come on board and join us at 111Tulsa.  We need you.  We need what God has uniquely equipped you with.  Your knowledge, your experience, your connections, but most of all you the children of our city need you.

Sincerely,

Chris Campbell

111Tulsa Executive Director

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