By Morgan Taylor, Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – With each day that passes, there is a large fluctuating number of children within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation boundaries who are without a family or even a stable home.
The MCN Children and Family Services Administration want to make citizens aware of the urgent need for foster homes. According to Certification, Placement, Recruitment and Training Coordinator Robin Wind the program is in a dire need of foster homes.
“We currently do not have enough homes available to take on all the children in foster care within our reservation,” Wind said. “With the latest data for 2020 there are currently 2,909 Indian children in foster care in Oklahoma and 863 of those children reside in the MCN reservation. Its also important to point out those numbers fluctuate daily.”
The purpose of the MCN CPRT program is to find tribal families to nurture and meet the needs of our MCN children who have been placed into custody by state or tribal courts. This program provides assistance in completing the application and will provide training for foster care providers while providing a stable, caring, and nurturing home for any Muscogee (Creek) child whose safety cannot be assured in their own home.
Although the McGirt v. Oklahoma case may have brought on changes to the MCN as a whole, Wind says there have not been any changes in the tribes foster care program particular to findings of the case.
“The need for foster families has always been huge,” Wind said. “Any tribal child welfare systems including the state are always needing foster homes. The hope is for our foster homes to grow to maintain the children in our reservation. Of course we need our citizens help to get there. As our homes increase, so will our program.”
With the lack of foster homes most of the current foster homes are at a full capacity with minimal openings for children.
“There are currently 12 certified foster homes and of course that number also fluctuates when families adopt and then that home closes or when more homes are certified.”
Citizens, or even those who live within the MCN reservation are encouraged to help in any way possible. This can include dropping meals by, care packages, supplies or anything a family might need to help provide for the children.
“We ask citizens to consider opening their homes to our children,” Wind said. “Not everybody can do that so we ask them to be helpers to the families that they may know that are fostering and be an advocate for foster care.”
To become a foster care provider, a member of a federally recognized tribe living within the MCN reservation must be certified with MCN Children and Family Services Administration.
“A family member of a Muscogee (Creek) child can also be certified through our program if the child is staying in the home,” Wind said.
The MCN Certification, Placement, Recruitment and Training Program provide what is needed to the family. The program provides healthcare assistance, childcare assistance, necessary counseling and parental training as well as a monthly reimbursement to help provide for the child.
Please contact the MCN Children and Family Services Administration for more information on how to become a foster care provider at (918)732-7869 or email Robin Wind at firstname.lastname@example.org