TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation is partnering with two organizations to start a network to better serve Cherokee County children in the child welfare system or at risk of being placed in foster care.
The Cherokee Nation is the first tribe in Oklahoma to partner with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and CarePortal to start a CarePortal network. The network partners with area churches that, when alerted, provide donated car seats, clothing and even beds for foster children.
Cherokee County will be the fourth county in Oklahoma to have the CarePortal network implemented.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and CarePortal State Director Chris Campbell, along with Oklahoma DHS Community Partnerships Director Deb Shropshire, will kick off the new system at a celebration on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 9 a.m. at the Cherokee National Courthouse in Tahlequah. The Cherokee National Youth Choir is scheduled to perform.
“For many of our Cherokee Nation families, needs can crop up overnight when it comes to caring for themselves or their children. The faith-based community is often left in the dark on needs that exist if the family is involved in the system,” Chief Baker said. “However, the CarePortal now addresses this issue and simplifies the process through a series of emails, giving the faith-based community the opportunity to help needy and at- risk families. Requests can vary from spiritual, emotional or physical needs and allow the church to fill the need directly. It is good for the tribe to partner with the CarePortal and create this network of support for biological, adoptive and foster families, as we all have the same mission: ensuring a stable, loving home for Cherokee children who need a safe and secure environment.”
Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare and Cherokee County DHS are co-coordinating the Cherokee County CarePortal network.
“This is a huge opportunity for Cherokee County. We weren’t even on the state’s radar to have this program available here. But due to the hard work of my staff, and the willingness of area churches to sign up, we have been selected as the next county in Oklahoma to have the CarePortal,” said Nikki Baker Limore, executive director of Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare. “It will help all needy children in Cherokee County, not just Cherokees.”
Currently, nine area churches signed up as CarePortal participants and the network is accepting more.
“The CarePortal network provides an opportunity for the churches in our communities to come together and make sure that some of the neediest children are cared and provided for,” said John Rozell, faith-based and foster parent liaison at Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare. “It’s often said that it takes a village to raise a child, and this is true. Providing a faith-based community network of care for children takes that notion and makes it a reality. Area churches are extremely excited about this as well, because it provides them the opportunity to answer the biblical mandate to provide for orphans and children in need. This is an excellent partnership for the Cherokee Nation that will make a real impact in the lives of our Cherokee children.”
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