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June 16, 2014

Community forum creates system of care for local families

(Continued)

Ada —

These traumatic experiences for children are often caused by adults with untreated mental illness or substance abuse habits and lead to children and youth being placed into state custody.

With approximately 70 percent of adults and 40 percent of youth left untreated for mental health issues and 77 percent of adults and 80 percent of youth needing help for substance abuse problems, Oklahoma communities must work together for the sake of the children and the future.

 Further statistics show that for eastern Oklahoma, in 2013, more children entered foster care than there were approved beds. With only 1,761 approved beds, 2,217 children were removed from their homes and placed into the system. 

This startling statistic represents 21 percent of the total number of children in Oklahoma removed from their family and is a 23 percent increase over 2012.

Because children entering state custody, untreated mental illness and substance abuse and other traumatic events affect the entire community, several local resource agencies and businesses have joined together to sponsor the event. 

The partners represent all sectors of the community and include businesses, faith-based organizations, tribes, community partners and families. Organizations hosting the event include Multi-County Counseling, Pontotoc and Seminole County Systems of Care, Ada City Schools, Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma Parents as Teachers, Ada Regional United Way, Seminole Nation, DHS, Oklahoma Family Network, Oklahoma Federation of Families, Smart Start South Central, Choctaw Nation, Mental Health Services of Southern Oklahoma Systems of Care, Office of Juvenile Affairs, 1-1-1 Project, Life Launch, Trinity Baptist Church, Byng Public Schools and Pontotoc County Drug Court.

Information about the event and the Communities of Care initiative can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OKCommunitiesofcare or by calling (580) 235-0210. 

Additional information about resources for families and how everyone can help will be available at the event.

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