Foster Care & Adoption

Minnie Got Biscuit?

At about the age of five a new stepfather came into my friend’s life.  At times, this new stepfather would not allow his mother to feed him and would lock the young boy out of the house.  So, he would go through the woods to the home of a little Choctaw woman named Minnie.  When she opened the door the little boy would ask, “Minnie got biscuit?”

Many times she filled his empty stomach but more importantly she filled a void of neglect as she took the time to teach him how to hunt squirrel and rabbit.  My friend attributes this little woman with saving his life.

-- Story and Art by Ruby Bolding

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 2010 an average of 300 Choctaw children in Oklahoma have been in the state's custody.  They are waiting and hoping for adoption or Foster Care.  Our Choctaw children need stable homes and families that can support these standards.  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.

The Need

When Choctaw children fall victim to abuse or neglect, they are temporarily placed into foster care until it is appropriate to be reunified with their parents or caregiver.  Throughout 2010 an average of 300 Choctaw children have been in the care and custody of the state of Oklahoma waiting and hoping for adoption or Foster Care placement.

Choctaw children need stable, safe homes that honor the Choctaw culture and can keep their traditions alive until the children can return to their homes.  If the children can't return CFS 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 are over represented in the nation's foster care system at more than 1.6 times the expected level, according to a 2007 report by the National Indian Child Welfare  Association (NICWA). 

For adoption and foster care situations CFS works to:

  • Assist the family to obtain services needed.
  • Provide cultural enrichment programs to foster/adoptive homes.
  • Actively recruit within our service area for adoptive and tribal foster homes.
  • Ensure that adoptive/foster care homes complete at least 12 hours of yearly continuing education in areas such as culture, parenting, foster care and adoption.

Foster Care

Choctaw foster families are more than just providing a home to an Indian child.  They are part of a team that works toward unifying 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 child’s family to become a stronger family unit 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 a foster home 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 assure that the child may continue to maintain important and lasting cultural, ancestral, educational and community-based connections.

What are the requirements to become a Choctaw Nation Foster Family?
 

  • You or your spouse must be an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation.
  • You can be single or married
  • You must be at least 21 years of age
  • You must live within the 10 1/2 counties of the Choctaw Nation (For more information on this check FAQ section)
  • 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:

Larry Behrens, 
Foster Care/Adoption Specialist
Email:  lbehrens@choctawnation.com 
Phone:  800-522-6170 ext. 2331

Justin McDaniel
Social Worker
Email:  jrmcdaniel@choctawnation.com 
Phone:  800-522-6170 ext. 2539

Adoption 

Many Choctaw children who enter foster care can never be returned to their homes. Choctaw foster families who have a child in their home that becomes elgible for adoption will have first chose in adoptiong that child. That’s 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 homes and their hearts to these children. Children and Family Services is not accepting "adoption only" applications at this time. 

Children and Family Services deals with two types of adoptions - children who are in a state's custody as well as children who are eligible for private adoptions - the majority of the CFS effort is focused on Choctaw children in state custody.

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 adotion. 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 the Choctaw Nation.
  • 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:

Larry Behrens
Foster Care/Adoption Specialist
Email:  lbehrens@choctawnation.com 
Phone: 800-522-6170 ext. 2331

Justin McDaniel
Social Worker
Email:  jrmcdaniel@choctawnation.com 
Phone: 800-522-6170 ext. 2539

Adoption Application Form

If you are interested in becoming a Choctaw foster home, please complete the application form.  Please click on the link below (or the image to the right) to download and print 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, OKLA. 74702
PHONE: (580) 924-8280 EXT. 2635
FAX: (580) 920-3197

To download and print the application form click here. (PDF)

Click here for Foster Care / Adoption FAQ's

Contact Foster Care or Adoption

Please use the following to contact Choctaw Children and Family Services about foster care or adoption:

Durant Tribal Headquarters
P.O. Box 1210
Durant, OK  74702

Larry Behrens, Foster Care/Adoption Supervisor
Email:  lbehrens@choctawnation.com 
Phone:  800-522-6170 ext. 2331

Justin McDaniel, Social Worker 
Email:  jrmcdaniel@choctawnation.com 
Phone:  800-522-6170 ext. 2539

Kat DeCaire, Recruiter/ Event Coordinator
Phone 800-522-6170 ext 2643

Our children.
Our tribe.
Our future.

Children and Family Services is committed to the preservation of Choctaw Families and our heritage.

800-522-6170
580-924-8280