Family Preservation Outreach was founded January 2015. There is a Facebook page, webpage (not yet published), board members, and a 501(c)3 status. The mission of this outreach is exactly what the title implies: to preserve families.
How does an organization help preserve families? First, moms and children get assistance to help keep them connected/together.
Second, services are provided to address all the issues mom (or dad) and child/ren require to stay together, i.e. addiction rehabilitation, mental health, occupational, educational, financial, legal, and housing. Next, offer an available group of professionals to assist and find resources for moms/families to stand on their own.
Housing with medical and mental health therapy will be provided to children and mom for a period of time that allows mom to demonstrate her ability to thrive and/or have the necessary support required to maintain a healthy family environment. Preserving family means educating those in need or crisis as to their options for keeping the family together. The mission will include preventing adoption, abortion, or non-kin foster care and adoption. Families will be included in all treatment as needed to produce the healthy outcome of preserving family.
What needs does Family Preservation Outreach need to make these services available? I’m glad you asked.
We need more professionals on the board of advisors. We need public relations help to outshine the marketing tactics of adoption agencies and abortion clinics. We need available multi-family housing, maintenance help, renovation and remodeling for making the housing adequate for the families. We need volunteer project managers for the housing, marketing, coordinating services, and screening families. We need mental health and medical professionals with hospital privileges for cases of detoxing. We need pro bono attorneys to provide services or resources to help moms keep their children legally and help moms work toward rehabilitation rather than incarceration.
Oklahoma boasts the statistics of being #10 in teen pregnancies and #8 in unwed pregnancies overall. Oklahoma is #3 in the country in female incarceration rates. http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2044089,00.html
Women Offenders as Mothers
• 301 women were surveyed
257 (85.4%) had at least one child
Among them, these 257 women had 760 children
65.4% (497) of these children were under age 18
2,357 incarcerated women have at least one child
Among them, these 2,357 women have 7,071 children
4,624 of these children are under age 18 http://www.ok.gov/ocsw/Issues/Oklahoma_Women_Incarcerated/index.html
Source: Oklahoma Study of Incarcerated Mothers and Their Children, January 22, 2010; Susan F. Sharp,
Ph.D., Emily Pain, and the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth.
Another challenge for Oklahoma families exists within the laws and adoption codes. For too long, Oklahoma’s adoption codes strictly favor and protect the adoptive families and leave biological parents with no support. Once biological parent, typically mom, makes an adoption plan there is no turning back. While an adoption plan can be dropped, the pressure to stay with the plan heavily dominates when a discussion includes the idea that mom may be having second thoughts. Once relinquishment or parental rights are signed away, getting the relinquishment revoked is unheard of in Oklahoma. If paternity is established by the estranged biological dad upon learning of an adoption plan, it is far too late for him to intervene and keep the child from being adopted. Legislative changes must be made but in the mean time, these families need help. Family Preservation Outreach has been founded for the purpose of doing everything possible to keep families together and help them get past difficult circumstances before considering placing the baby with strangers/adoptive families.