In 1978 Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to address the best interests of Indian children and promote stability of Indian tribes and families. The act set standards for Indian children removed from their families that reflect the unique values of Indian culture.
In 2020, an average of 400 Choctaw children in Oklahoma have been placed in either tribal or state custody. Our Choctaw children need stable homes and families that can care and support them during this emotionally traumatic time in their lives. It is the Choctaw Nation’s belief and vision that with the help of loving, caring Choctaw homes, our families can once again become strong.
"Together, We're More"
When Choctaw children fall victim to abuse or neglect, they are temporarily placed into foster care until it is safe and appropriate to be reunified with their parents or caregivers. In 2020, the Choctaw Nation had on average 55 tribal foster homes across Oklahoma. We need your help. Please call us to learn more about how you can help. We have several foster home categories:
Emergency - Homes that provide care for a single night up to a week until family or a traditional foster home can be located.
Respite - Homes that provide breaks for other foster families when the need arises.
Traditional - Families who will provide care for extended periods of time.
Choctaw children need stable, safe, temporary and loving homes that honor the Choctaw culture and can keep their traditions alive until the children can return to their homes. If a child cannot return to their home, Children and Family Services looks for permanency for the child through adoption into a home that will maintain the child’s connection to their unique Choctaw heritage.
American Indian and Alaskan Native children were and still are overrepresented in the nation’s foster care system at more than 1.6 times the expected level, according to National Indian Child Welfare reported statics.
For adoption and foster care situations CFS works to:
- Assist the family in obtaining services needed.
- Provide cultural enrichment programs to foster/adoptive homes.
- Actively recruit within our services area for tribal foster homes.
- Ensure that foster care homes complete at least 12 hours of yearly continuing education in areas such as culture, parenting, foster care and adoption.
Choctaw foster families are doing more than just providing a home to an Indian child. They are part of a team that works toward reunifying a child with their family. This includes maintaining a child’s social and cultural heritage, serving as a temporary parent to the child and providing for their basic needs, such as food, clothing and safety.
Choctaw foster families encourage the children’s families to become stronger for their child to return home and can actively help in the reunification process. A strong foster care program exists today, but the need is greater than most people realize.
Are You Ready to Become a Choctaw Foster Family?
Some children stay in foster care for days or weeks; some stay for several years. In other cases, children are placed permanently with another family. When out-of-home placement is needed to keep a child safe, Children and Family Services will make diligent efforts to identify, evaluate and consider relatives, family friends and those culturally tied to the family as the primary placement option.
When relatives cannot be a placement option for the child, CFS will make efforts to actively recruit and support families within the child’s home community and in as close proximity as possible to the child’s parents to ensure the child may continue to maintain important cultural, ancestral, educational and community-based connections.
Some Choctaw children who enter foster care can never be returned to their homes, and there is no extended family who can adopt them. Choctaw foster families with a child in their home who becomes eligible for adoption will have first choice in adopting that child. That is why the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma actively seeks Choctaw foster families to become foster/adopt parents. We are in great need of Choctaw families to open their hearts and homes to these children. Children and Family Services are not accepting “Adoption Only” applications at this time.
Children and Family Services deals with two types of adoptions: children who are in either tribal or a state’s custody and children who are eligible for private adoptions. The majority of the CFS effort is focused on Choctaw children who are either in tribal custody or state custody.
Tribal or state custody Choctaw children are:
- Infants through 18 years of age
- Sibling groups
- Children with special emotional, medical or physical needs
- Children who have experienced multiple out-of-home placements
The Indian Child Welfare Act requires private adoption agencies working on an adoption plan with a Choctaw family to contact us if the family is voluntarily placing a Choctaw child up for adoption. Once we are contacted, CFS will determine if the child is Indian, and if so, will submit Choctaw family home studies to the adoption agency so they can present them to the biological family. We encourage the agency to present our Choctaw homes as they would their own. We want our Choctaw children placed in Choctaw homes.
What are the requirements to become a Choctaw Foster Family:
- You or your spouse must be an enrolled member of any federally recognized tribe.
- You can be single or married
- You must be at least 21 years of age
- You must have the emotional, physical, and financial abilities to provide for a child’s needs
- You must submit to a search of all state and national criminal history records
- You must ensure that no household member has a prior conviction of a sexual offense.
- You must attend pre-service training
- You must ensure that no household member has confirmed child welfare history.
- You must provide information for a family assessment (home study)
For more information on how to become a Choctaw Foster Family please contact:
Sonya Garrett, Foster Care Manager
Phone: 580-924-8280 x4514
Tribal Resource Application Form
If you are interested in becoming a Choctaw foster home, please complete the application form. Click on the link below to download the application form.
Simply fill out the form and mail or fax it to:
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Children and Family Services
P. O. Box 1210, Durant, OK. 74702
To download and print the application form click here. (PDF).
The application requires a PDF reader on your computer. Free PDF reader from Adobe.