Governor Mary Fallin Announces Partnership between her Oklahoma Fosters Initiative and DHS and the Oklahoma Alliance of YMCAs to Benefit Foster Families

Staff Writer

Governor Mary Fallin today announced a new public-private partnership to benefit all Oklahoma foster families. Beginning today, the Oklahoma Alliance of YMCAs is partnering with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) and the governor’s Oklahoma Fosters initiative to launch the “YMCA Benefit Program” for Oklahoma foster families. This new program will provide discounted services at YMCAs across the state to all foster parents providing care to children in state custody.

“Finding foster families for the hundreds of children who come into state custody every year has long been a priority of mine,” said Fallin. “I’m grateful to the Oklahoma Alliance of YMCA for partnering with my Oklahoma Fosters initiative and DHS to create these special benefits for foster families. We are always looking for more foster families, especially here in Tulsa, and I hope this announcement helps to encourage more people to consider this incredibly rewarding commitment.”

All certified foster families will have access to various discounts including: 50 percent off membership and joining fees for family/household memberships; 50 percent off sports and aquatic fees; and, financial assistance for day camp, after-school programs and child care. Tuition assistance will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and subject to eligibility for and availability of services at each YMCA location.

“At the YMCA, we believe that when we build strong kids and strong families, we build strong communities – and we recognize that when our fellow citizens struggle, we all struggle,” said Susan Plank, chair of the Oklahoma Alliance of YMCAs and chief executive officer of the YMCA of Greater Tulsa. “That’s why when we learned about the governor’s special initiative to support foster families we knew it was something we wanted to be a part of and support. My fellow ‘Y’ Leaders and I are honored to welcome foster families to our associations and lend ourselves as a resource to the important work these families do to help build strong kids and strong families.”

In addition, YMCAs across the state will also be hosting Heart Galleries in their facilities, which are photo displays of children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted. In March and April, there will be a Heart Gallery at the Tandy Family YMCA of Tulsa, the Mitch Park YMCA in Edmond, the Cleveland County Family YMCA, the Great Plains Family YMCA in Weatherford, and the Ponca City YMCA.

“DHS is thankful for the generosity of the Oklahoma Alliance of YMCA for providing these discounts to our foster families,” said DHS Director Ed Lake. “We are excited about this partnership and how it will honor foster families for the care they provide to our children every day.”

About the Oklahoma Fosters initiative

Oklahoma Fosters is a joint partnership with Governor Fallin and DHS launched in November 2015 with the goal of recruiting new foster and adoptive families to better serve children in state custody.

The Oklahoma Fosters initiative unites government, business, nonprofits and the faith community in order to change the narrative around fostering, to recruit safe, loving foster and adoptive families statewide, and to provide ongoing support to the foster care community.

About the Oklahoma Alliance of YMCAs

The purpose of the Oklahoma Alliance of YMCAs is to represent the collective voice and leverage the collective impact of all 13 independent Oklahoma YMCAs; foster statewide communication and collaboration; and inspire, nurture and strengthen communities by advancing youth development, healthy living and social responsibility through advocacy, programming and collaboration.

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