OKLAHOMA CITY – Helping foster parents will help children in Oklahoma, said state Rep. Pat Ownbey today about a new bill to create a foster parent mediation program.
“After conducting a study where we talked to foster parents about their experience in the child welfare system, it became clear that foster parents need a third party to help them resolve conflicts that occasionally arise between child welfare workers and foster parents,” said Ownbey, R-Ardmore. “DHS on the whole does an excellent job of partnering with foster parents, but the current system provides little recourse for foster parents when a conflict does arise, because there is not a mediator to help resolve conflicts. My proposal is to designate a third party to mediate these conflicts.”
House Bill 2588 would create procedures for mediating and addressing grievances by foster care parents that would be overseen by the Oklahoma Commission of Children and Youth Office of Juvenile System Oversight.
The legislation would give foster parents the right “without fear or reprisal” to present grievances with respect to providing foster care services.
“Foster care parents came to us with a real problem that will improve their ability to help children and encourage more foster care parents to join the child welfare system,” Ownbey said.