"Native American children make up a greater proportion of children in foster care than in the general population." –Bill Thorne, a member of the Pomo tribe, Utah Court of Appeals judge and member of the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care.
Pokagon children, just like all children in the foster care system, often undergo traumatic emotional, psychological, behavioral, and environmental changes affecting their lives and development. One of the major concerns is where and with whom these children will live.
The Pokagon Band Foster Care program seeks to find Pokagon homes for Pokagon children who have been removed from their homes and are in the process of being reunified with their families or need to be adopted. We want to ensure that our children are placed in tribal homes, to keep them connected to their cultural identity, its values, and their community.
“It’s very important for kids to be placed in homes that understand their cultural background, culture is a foundation of who we are as a people.” –Bobby Lefebre, Youth Services Supervisor for Denver Human Services Department).
Embracing the Seven Grandfather teachings through the fostering process is valuable for potential parents and the children. Our potential foster parents need to respect our children and the situations and environments they have come from; provide a loving environment; convey wisdom to encourage and motivate; be honest in times of distress and disparity; provide a nurturing family structure; have the humility to step out of the box; and the courage to take on the responsibility of welcoming a child with challenges or special needs.
Other ways to get involved
Considering full time fostering or adopting can feel overwhelming, especially if you want to help for our children but don’t want a long-term commitment. There are other ways you can help out.
Providing respite care is a great way to try fostering without committing full-time. It allows you to provide temporary placement for children whose foster parents may need to fulfill other obligations outside of the home.
Support is here for you
The Department of Social Services will assist potential foster/adoptive and respite parents during the licensing/home study process to ensure a smooth licensing process. Those interested in becoming foster parents or providing respite care will go through the licensing/home study process through an outside licensing agency. Department staff will help locate a free licensing agency.
Please help fill this critical need for Native American foster and adoptive homes. If you can be the change that matters, please contact Christynn Black at firstname.lastname@example.org or (269) 462-4336.
Christynn Black Foster Care/Adoption Worker