Osage Nation, Delaware Tribe to host Tribal Foster & Adoptive Family Recruitment Fair

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

The Osage Nation Social Services and Delaware Tribe ICW is hosting the 2014 Tribal Foster & Adoptive Family Recruitment Fair from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 3 at the Delaware Community Center, 170 N.E. Barbara in Bartlesville.

There will be 14 Tribes, 2 DHS office and 2 DHS vendors on hand to take applications, answer questions and share program information on becoming a certified and licensed tribal foster or adoptive home.

The Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Association and Casey Family Program-Indian Child Welfare Program will also be in attendance. Casey Family Programs is a major sponsor of this event. Casey Family Programs is the nation’s largest operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system. Their office is located in the state of Colorado. Founded in 1966, Casey Family Programs work to provide and improve and ultimately prevent the need for foster care in the United States.

Native American Tribes in Oklahoma need more tribal foster and adoptive homes. Our tribal children, when removed from the care of their parents, due to child abuse and neglect, often end up in non-Indian foster homes. When this happens, tribal foster children suffer the risk of losing their culture and identity. Organizers of the event say tribal homes that are certified through tribal Indian Child Welfare programs get filled up fast, often the homes end up adopting the children they care for and the home is closed out as they cannot take in any more children. There are many good tribal foster and adoptive homes, but the need is still there.

All interested tribal people are asked to attend this fair and become a licensed and certified tribal foster home. The ICW/tribes represented at this event will be: Osage Nation, Delaware Tribe, Iowa Tribe, Cherokee Nation, Seminole Nation, Sac & Fox Nation, Absentee Shawnee, Citizen Potawatomi, Kickapoo Tribe, Creek Nation, Chickasaw Nation, Ponca Tribe, Pawnee Nation and Kaw Nation. DHS office and vendors represented will be Tall Grass Family Services, St. Francis Community-Services, DHS Adoptions and Osage County DHS.

At 12 noon, during lunch, the guest speaker will be Daryle Conquering Bear, an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe who has experienced more than seven years in the Colorado foster care system and aged out at 18 years old. Daryle has struggled with the challenges of culture and identity loss. Now, having overcome these struggles, he helps by being a youth voice on panels and round table discussions. He serves as an advisory council member and consultant for the National Resource Center for Tribes. Daryle started his advocacy work with Foster Club, as an All-Star intern. He is currently a consultant for National Resource Center for Youth Development, has testified before Congress on behalf of his Native American tribe. He has worked closely with senators and congressional members to tell his story and to be a voice of advocacy for tribal children in foster care.

At 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., a panel of tribal foster and adoptive parents will answer questions and tell about their experience in caring for tribal foster children.

Lunch will be provided. There will be children’s activities and door prizes given away throughout the day. Prizes include a television and DVD player, a spa package, Pendleton blankets, Pendleton towels, $75 Walmart gift card, gas cards and a painting donated by Ponca City artist, June Teichmer.

For more information, call the Osage Nation Social Services Foster Care Specialist Jenny Rush-Buffalohead or Adoption Specialist Rebecca Fish at 918-287-5335 or Delaware Tribe ICW Director Allan Barnes at 918-337-6520.