Foster Family Shares Their Side Of DHS

Wednesday, February 13th 2008, 10:32 pm
By: News On 6

A Rogers County couple says they know first-hand DHS isn't working for kids.  After seven years as foster parents, they can only think of two success stories.  The News On 6 Ashli Sims reports the Thompson's say DHS treats them like glorified babysitters.

Six-year-old Kylie had a rough time, when she first arrived in this world.  She was taken into DHS custody, about the same time the Thompson's opened their home to children needing one.

"She was our very first foster child, she came to us as a newborn. A 4 pound 4 ounce baby girl," said Laura Thompson.

The Thompson's fell in love with that baby girl and decided to keep her, adopting her after 26 months.  But they say most foster kids don't have such happy stories.

"I feel like the children in foster care are a lot of times jumping from the frying pan into the fire. That they are not looking out for the best interest of these children," said Laura Thompson.

Thompson says as her family has swelled from four to six or more dealing with DHS has been the hardest part of having a foster home.

"If you go up against what DHS is recommending, they threaten you. They threaten to take the kids away from your home, even though that's their stability," said Laura Thompson.

And she says there's already too much of a revolving door. 

A little boy, who is in state custody, has been placed with the Thompson's three times.

DHS tried to reunite him with a family member, even though the Thompson's didn't think it was a good idea.  It wasn't long before he was back in their home.

"Well it was just me who was not wanting reunification to work, now we have a little boy who's totally messed up," said Laura Thompson.  "It's heart-wrenching, it's hard."

Thompson welcomes the lawsuit against DHS, saying it can only help the children who need it the most.  She has her own little success story, but she says so many more children are being abused and neglected by the system that's supposed to be protecting them.

The class action lawsuit claims one of the reasons Oklahoma can't maintain a pool of foster parents is because of compensation.  It says DHS only gives families about $12 a day to pay for the care of a foster child.

The Thompsons' say when you're caring for an infant and buying formula and diapers, that doesn't even come close.