The past month has seen the world experience something it has not seen since the turn of the 20th century. The global Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine restrictions have placed a burden on everyone around the world. That burden becomes even heavier as we try to love, educate, entertain, and protect our children. What began for our children as the longest Spring Break of their lives has stretched on longer than any of us could have ever imagined. Keeping our little ones, big ones, and in-betweens entertained and educated while we shelter in place has been a challenge for even the most experienced parents! The recent news that most schools will remain closed throughout the end of this school year opens parents up to a unique opportunity to seek out new learning and life experiences for their children – all from the comfort of their own homes.
- To help fill this need, Sesame Street Workshop has created, “Caring for Each Other.” Located at https://www.sesamestreet.org/caring this website is filled with activities, games, printable resources, videos, and much more. Young children – with help from a grown-up – can spend hours learning, going on adventures, and laughing along with Elmo, Big Bird, and friends.
- The Smithsonian has a website filled with resources for kids, teens – and parents, too! Available at https://www.si.edu/kids/ families are able to explore the new Cheetah Cubs in the Conservation Institute, print coloring pages, visit Spark!Lab, and more.
- For our young historians and scientists, the Houston Museum of Natural Science has online content filled with educational videos, blogs, and activities to stimulate young minds and provide hours of educational entertainment. Check it out at https://www.hmns.org/hmns-at-home/
- PARADE magazine has listed, “125 Ideas to Keep Kids Entertained During the Coronavirus Crisis.” From indoor picnics to virtual tours of National Parks, you will find all of the information for these amazing activities at https://parade.com/1009774/stephanieosmanski/things-to-do-with-kids-during-coronavirus-quarantine/
- As we are now seeing States begin to slowly ease quarantine requirements, it is more important than ever that we talk to our children about Covid-19. Children need information as much as we adults do. Providing them with age-appropriate information about what Covid-19 is, what they can do to keep themselves safe, and what we are doing to help keep them safe is going to be vital to building a sense of security for them. To that end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided an online resource with helpful hints and resources for how to talk to our children about Covid-19. It can be found at https://www.hmns.org/hmns-at-home/ and helps answer many of the questions are children have about this virus.
- Cook Children’s Hospital located in Fort Worth, Texas has also provided an online resource for how to talk to our children about Covid-19. Take a look at it here: https://cookchildrens.org/coronavirus/resources/talking/Pages/talking-covid.aspx
As we start to return to the new normal here in the United States, it is important that we continue to try to create an environment for our children that is educational, secure, fun, structured, and free of fear. Our children look to us for all of these things. Follow the links listed in this article today!
Join us welcoming the new staff below! We are excited to have them on the TFI team!
Carla Wimberly-Tulsa Foster Care Worker
I was born in Oklahoma. During my teen years, I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, graduated high school, and started college at the local community college. I moved back to Oklahoma where I met and married my husband, whom I have been with for 26 years. I finished my degree at OSU-Tulsa. We have three beautiful daughters and two grandchildren, with another on the way. I spent almost six years with DHS, four of which were in foster care and now I am very happy to be part of the TFI foster care team!
Arlesa Lehman-Oklahoma City Foster Care Worker
My name is Arlesa Lehman and is the case with us all, I have diverse roles in my life. I am a mother of three amazing adult children, and have four beautiful grandchildren. I have worked in most every aspect of the helping profession for more than thirty years. I have most enjoyed my work as an educator, instructional coach, and advocate for families and children. I am a serial learner, and am working towards my second masters in clinical studies.
Tina Johnson-Oklahoma City Foster Care Worker
Hello my name is Tina Johnson and originally I was looking into becoming a foster parent with TFI, but my mind was quickly changed into working for TFI by my supervisor. In the past four years since graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I have worked at Youth and Family Services as a Parent Educator and at Family Resource Center as a Victim Liaison. My hobbies would be training horses, playing basketball or softball with my children, going to the lake to fish or swim.
Oklahoma Care Provider of the Month
Thomas and Donna Urdak were certified with TFI Family Connections on November 6, 2019. The Urdak family was taking a break after a prior placement left the home until they heard about custody children having to stay the night at DHS offices and workers having a hard time finding placement for children due to the concerns of COVID-19. The Urdak family opened their foster home for placement of children to help ensure they had a safe and caring home. They work cooperatively with DHS and TFI workers and ensure the children in their home receive the services needed. Thanks to the Urdak family for being willing to help out during these times of crisis and your passion to ensure children have a safe and stable home. We appreciate you and are thankful you are part of the TFI family!
In today’s world, most every youth has access to technology and the internet. Various forms of technology include smart devices, tablets, computers, and video gaming systems. Through the internet, a great deal of content is accessible and only a click away. With access to the internet it means youth can be exposed to risky, illegal and sexually explicit materials, as well as cyberbullying, sexting, and online predators. The capabilities of blocking, filtering, and monitoring software can be overcome by a determined child. Many teenagers live out their lives online, ultimately in the public’s eye. Teenagers may share private photos on social media sites, send tweets and text messages, as opposed to calling. In today’s world, social media is a large part of a teenager’s life and when it comes to sharing information, they often share, text or post information most adults would deem, not appropriate to share.
19 Similarities between the Foster Care System and the COVID-19 pandemic
- Children in homes with abuse or neglect wonder HOW LONG they will be stuck at home in a bad situation.
- Children wonder if anyone even knows if they are in need of help.
- Children wonder HOW MANY other kids are stuck at home in an unsafe environment.
- Children wonder, “Will things EVER get better?”
- Children wonder who will provide for them, if someone can’t get out of the house, or doesn’t care enough to try to find resources
- Preparation is needed to ensure we have enough BEDS and CARETAKERS for those in need.
- Children wonder if it is safer to risk “going out in the world” or “stay stuck at home in a poor situation.”
- Communities shift focus to protecting others from a problem that they literally cannot see (abuse/neglect).
- Children can “wear a mask” to signify everything is okay, but behind it they desire freedom to breathe.
- Many children in need are ASYMPTOMATIC…. No one really knows if there is a problem with them or if they need help. Especially if they are stuck at home and not interacting with teachers or friends.
- Flattening the curve for the need of children coming into care requires helping each other through stressful situations to the best of our ability.
- Social Distancing doesn’t affect your sight or your voice – only your proximity. People can still find ways to advocate for and keep an eye out to help others.
- The foster care crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic both have long term effects on families (Parents, siblings, etc.).
- Preparations to “re-open” your home can be made now, even when the crisis is going on.
- The added stress and financial hardships will likely result in a higher number of children needing assistance due to abuse or neglect.
- Life will not return to normal immediately after the crisis. It will take some time, energy and commitment of families and communities to get to a “healthy normal.”
- Many individuals are willing to help others – if they knew of a person in need or knew of a way to help.
- Awareness is critical. People will not help to solve a problem or “do their part” if they do not know how to help.
- Referring a friend to help by fostering or become involved may save a child, adult, or even a whole family.
Hello! We hope that you and yours are safe and well during this trying time. We wanted share a heartwarming story about a wonderful family in Kansas.
June Hansroth, a young girl in Kansas, recently had her 5th birthday party canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. June shares a birthday with her mom, so every year they have one joint birthday party with family and friends to celebrate. After birthday plans were canceled, June’s parents, Luke & Jessica Hansroth, set out to make the best of the situation. They reached out to friends and family via social media and planned a birthday parade for June!
June’s parents didn’t stop there though, they wanted to do more. They wanted to give back. Luke and Jessica decided for every car that drove by in June’s birthday parade, the parents would donate $5 to TFI Family Services. In honor of June’s 5th birthday, the Hansroth’s donated $150 to TFI.
We’re so touched by the Hansroth’s generosity and that they would think the families and children being served by TFI!
Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions, fun stories, or if you’d like to refer contacts our way at 918.728.3378 or at [email protected]. Thanks for all you do!
May is National Foster Care Month and we wanted to let you know just how much we appreciate you! Foster parents are essential partners in our mission to strengthen families. We could not do what we do without you! Please check out our social media pages throughout the month of May to see several foster parent highlights.
You deserve all the recognition and more. Happy Foster Care Month!
Thank you for opening your hearts and homes to children in need.
Robert Compton & Debra Siard
Thomas & Betheny Hargrove
Jamie Sims & Brandy Sneed
Adam Ladamus & Krystina McCumber
Marvin & Sara Seabolt
Colton Worley & Michael Vernon-Worley
Christopher & Suzette Price
Dana & Rebekah Daugharthy
Eric & Trina Wood
Lewi & Angi Watters
Every time you make a purchase on Amazon, TFI Family Services can earn money and participating does NOT increase the price you pay for your purchases. Visit smile.amazon.com or click the picture above and select TFI Family Services to support youth in foster care.
Every time you make a purchase at Dillons, TFI Family Services can earn money. Please visit
dillons.com/communityrewards or click the picture above and select TFI Family Services as your nonprofit to support youth in foster care.