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Tribes recruit foster families - KOAM TV 7

Tribes recruit foster families

Updated:
WYANDOTTE, OKLAHOMA -

Wyandotte Nation hosted all nine Oklahoma Indian nations for a workshop to recruit native families to become foster families for native children.

"We have no native foster homes. We are looking to serve our Native American children with Native American homes," Jan Grant of Miami nation Indian Child Welfare services said.

Currently 11,500 Oklahoma children are in need of a foster family. With many of those children being native, the tribes are trying to get native children into native homes.

"The parents need to know that they'll never be alone. That they have a great support group with the tribe. That we're not just one tribe but we're nine tribes that will help them and support them and that there's so many children out there that need loving and kind homes and that you don't have to be that perfect parent. But you just have to be a parent that's willing to show love and support to a child that really needs it," Tammy Gibson of Eastern Shawnee Tribe's children and family services said.

Current foster parents were on hand to share their experiences and help dispel fears that potential foster families may have. 

"Being a foster parent is one of the most rewarding adventures that you can ever get into. Foster parents: it takes a special breed of person, but there's also tremendous reward," Mark Westfall, a current foster parent said.

Westfall's 11-year-old daughter, Harmony, whom he and his wife adopted out of the foster system came and shared a few words about how much being in Westfall's family has meant to her. Someone asked her if she would consider being a foster mother when she grows up, to which Harmony responded, "oh I already have plans to be a foster mother someday", bringing about many tears in the room.

Door prizes were on hand for attending families, which included items needed to pass foster home inspections, like smoke alarms.

The tribes plan to host the same seminar again in the spring.

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