Oklahoma lawmakers, youth services providers discuss foster care reform

At a Senate interim study lawmakers and youth services providers discussed both obstacles facing children transitioning out of foster care and into adulthood and possible changes to the foster care system.
By Graham Lee Brewer gbrewer@opubco.com Modified: October 9, 2013 at 7:52 pm •  Published: October 10, 2013
Advertisement
;

Shawn Black, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Youth Services, said he believes the key to addressing many of their problems is starting earlier.

“We need to start thinking what can we do differently with the services that are being provided right now,” Black said. “All I'm saying is, we should not wait until they're 16, 17, and 18 before we start saying what can be done for these kids. Let's start when they're in foster care.”

Black and other youth service providers testified that while the state has some good programs to offer, Oklahoma children in foster care need more education on topics such as healthy relationships, and many need deeper mental health and substance abuse counseling.

Black said not only will this help children become independent, it also will help state agencies make better use of state and federal dollars by catching problems sooner.

“We spend about $5,000 a year for foster care families to take care of a kid,” Black said. “If they move away from foster care and into a group home, you're now paying $50,000. If they get caught, commit a crime, and go to the Office of Juvenile Affairs, a medium security facility, $90,000 a year.”

| |

Advertisement


Trending Now



AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Check out the Thunder postseason playlist
  2. 2
    VIDEO: Blake Griffin dumps water on a fan
  3. 3
    Oklahoma City Thunder: Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes calls drug suspension unfair
  4. 4
    Dave Chappelle Reveals Shockingly Buff New Look
  5. 5
    Peaches Geldof Funeral to Be Held on Easter Monday
+ show more