Please join me in recognizing and honoring May as National Foster Care Awareness Month.
God has blessed Christie and me with six wonderful children who are the pride and joy of our lives. We often say when it comes to our kids, ‘three came natural, and three we chose,’ meaning that three of our children came into our family through the blessing of adoption. Our hearts have only gotten bigger with the addition of Jayce, and our twin girls Ivy and Lynette.
Every child in America deserves a safe and loving home, and I am dedicated to walking alongside Oklahoma’s children and families to ensure a happy, healthy, and stable future for all in foster care.
The United States currently has 391,000 children in the foster care system, and out of that large number, around 6,552 are local to Oklahoma, and 449 are without a current foster care placement. There’s no question that each of these children deserve a caring family that prioritizes their safety and development. As a member of the Senate Foster Youth Caucus, I’m working across the aisle to improve the quality of life of children, teens, and young adults in the foster care system, and aid those who are aging out of the system and face additional challenges.
I could not be more grateful for the Oklahomans who have made this their lives work. I was thrilled to spend the afternoon with the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Oklahoma City (CASA) recently at their annual clay shoot in support of CASA’s mission to train volunteers to advocate for the best interests of foster youth. To our CASA trainers and volunteers – thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I also offer my most profound appreciation to the 4,560 approved foster homes across the state. We recognize and value you; we can’t thank you enough for your contribution to the foster care system. I know it’s not always easy, but your perseverance and selflessness does not go unnoticed.
For children and young adults in the foster care system, each day is an uphill battle, and my greatest hope is that together we can lessen the challenges they face. While these children have experienced immense adversity, they are resilient. Youth in foster care are our future leaders, world changers, educators, and neighbors – beloved by God with endless capabilities. Support from their neighbors, community members, and representatives is the first step in helping them to succeed.