Welcome to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services

Welcome to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) Foster Care Program. Thank you so much for committing to making a difference in a child’s life. You are vital to our work with families in crisis.

Foster family care means an essential temporary Child Welfare (CW) service for a child and parents, legal guardian, or custodian when the child’s safety cannot be ensured in his or her own home due to the risk of child abuse, neglect or special circumstances necessitating out-of-home care on a temporary basis in a home away from the child’s parents, legal guardian or custodian.

The feelings of loss and disconnection families experience as a result of being separated can remain with children and parents forever. Foster family care services are aimed at turning the losses into gains and maintaining essential connections for children and families, thereby making the connections stronger than before. When this cannot safely be accomplished, identifying an alternate permanent plan for each child’s care is needed.

You need to be prepared for the changes a child placed in your home will make in your daily lives, and we hope this handbook will be a helpful guide in your foster parent journey. Updates will be sent as needed.

DHS Child Welfare Services is taking a close look at how we work with children and families. We know that
in order for children to achieve permanency as quickly as possible, we must honor, respect and learn from families. We must also listen to the voices of children and include the people most important to the child in making decisions that affect the child and the family. For children placed in out-of-home care this can sometimes be a challenge. The Bridge practice was developed and is being utilized when placing children in out-of-home care. It is called Bridge because bridges provide a connection from one place to another, and that is what we want to do – connect children and families. For years, families who opened their hearts and homes to children in need of out-of-home care were referred to as foster families and their homes referred to as foster homes. In more recent years, foster families and foster homes have become known as resource families and resource homes. With Bridge, families providing out-of- home care will now be referred to as Bridge resource families. You may see the terms foster family, resource family or Bridge resource family used interchangeably throughout this handbook, but please know the term used is not what is most important. It is the valuable service you are providing the children and their families.

Continue to Bridge Resource Family