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News Archives

Talking to Kids About Tragedy

Children don’t think exactly like adults. When discussing this week’s shooting at an Ohio high school, deadly severe storms or other tragedies with children, it’s important to take special care. Carrie Little, program coordinator/educator at Family & Children’s Services, has tips to help parents talk to their children about tragedy.





Need professional help in dealing with trauma in your child’s life? We can help. Click here to learn more about trauma treatment services at Family & Children’s Services.

New Ideas in Health Care Benefit Clients, Entire Community – By Dianne Hughes, Program Director, Case Management and Special Projects

We hear a lot these days about the poor state of health in Oklahoma as compared to the rest of the nation. Perhaps you’ve also heard the news that people diagnosed with a serious mental illness are at a higher risk of premature death. Earlier this month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/Health Resources Services Administration Center for Integrated Health Solutions explained that these premature deaths are “largely due to complications from untreated, preventable chronic illnesses like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, which are aggravated by poverty-driven health choices, like poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and smoking.”

We at Family & Children’s Services are acutely aware of this problem. Many of our clients don’t have a regular medical doctor. They use the emergency room for their health care or, sadly, forgo needed medical attention. Through a partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation and Morton Comprehensive Health Services, Family & Children’s Services took a bold step to help improve the health of our clients by opening a medical clinic in October 2011 inside the Sarah & John Graves Center.  

Currently, the clinic operates one day a week and is available for adults receiving mental health services from Family & Children’s Services. Clinic patients may also receive free medication as prescribed by a Morton medical provider. Patients receive treatment for colds and other minor complaints and serious, chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

So, can one day a week really help? By mid-February, 281 clients had been seen during the clinic’s 16 operating days. Over 70 percent of those served said they didn’t have a primary care physician and, instead, used to visit hospital emergency rooms for care. More than 20 percent didn’t seek care when sick. But now, these individuals have a resource for getting treatment and, just as important, managing their wellness.

The direct impact on our clients and their loved ones is evident. However, our community as a whole benefits, too, through less crowded emergency rooms and lower health care costs. 

Mental Illness Impacts 1 in 5 Americans, report shows

A new national report reveals that 45.9 million American adults aged 18 or older, or 20 percent of this age group, experienced mental illness in the past year. The rate of mental illness was more than twice as high among those aged 18 to 25 (29.9 percent) than among those aged 50 and older (14.3 percent). Adult women were also more likely than men to have experienced mental illness in the past year (23 percent versus 16.8 percent).


To read the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s full news release on the study, click here.

Fun & Free Time Together as a Family

Too often, parents find themselves caught in a game of “gimme” with their children – as in, “Gimme this, Mom.” or “Dad, can you gimme a new video game?” However, how much money you spend on your kids matters less than how much time you spend with them.

Tulsa World Blogger Natalie Mikles has some fantasic ideas for spending time together as a family free or on the cheap. We have a few other suggestions:

Have a board game night. Younger children can be paired up with older kids or parents. Reading game cards reinforces language skills, and moving the pawn and handling money helps with mathematics.

Channel Scheherezade, the fabled Persian storyteller. She told a story that lasted 1,001 nights, ending each night’s session on a suspenseful note. Let every member of the family have an opportunity to tell part of the story you create together.

Go dancing without the stars. Turn on some music and cut a rug on your own rug. It’s a great way to get some exercise and is likely to leave everyone giggling.

Stage your own “Chopped” challenge. Set out an array of motley ingredients, start a timer and tell your little chef to create a culinary masterpiece. Plan to be on hand to help younger children with cutting and any cooking required, but let their creativity guide the final product.



Do Your Part — By Carrie Little, Family Life Education Program Coordinator

“He isn’t even trying anymore.”

“She doesn’t care.”


Sound familiar?  If so, you are not alone.  Many couples go through times when one or both feel that they are the only one “working” on the relationship.  It becomes frustrating to reflect on your relationship and see only those things that you do to make your relationship work.  It can become a habit to focus only on those things that your partner ISN’T doing.  When this habit forms it is likely that other bad habits form in its wake, including bouts of escalation when trying to discuss issues with your partner, or starting sentences that begin with, “You never… ” or “You always… .”

Especially if you have children together, it is important to find ways of relating to one another without damaging your closeness.  One way to begin this process is called “Do Your Part.”  This concept relies greatly on your ability to look closely at your thoughts and actions to bring about change in your relationship.  In other words, in every situation, find a way to do the best you can.  Whether that be choosing not to yell and scream, or choosing to do something nice for your partner even in times of irritation. 

This does not mean you can change your relationship on your own.  It takes two to make a relationship work over time.  However, if both you and your partner begin a daily practice of “Do Your Part,” the need for each to focus on the other’s bad behavior will cease.  This involves trust.  You have to trust that your partner is doing everything he or she can to make your relationship and family life work, and vice versa.  This also involves a lot of respect and kindness, both toward yourself and your partner.

“Do Your Part” can change the tone of your relationship.  You will begin to process events in a different way.  Instead of automatically going toward the one thing your partner did wrong, you will be thinking in “I” statements instead.  Like, “What could I have done to make that conversation better?”  or, “What could I do today to make my relationship stronger?” 


If you would like to learn more about “Do Your Part,” and other concepts and skills to make your relationship strong, Family & Children’s Services offers a free class called Forever. For Real. In this class, couples learn together the skills needed to create a lasting and loving partnership.

Calling All Retailers: Clear Your Racks!

Family & Children’s Services is asking local retailers to clear their racks. The agency’s popular warehouse sale fundraising event is just around the corner – and merchandise is needed!

F&CS will host its ninth annual Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale on March 28-30, 2012, at its central office, 650 S. Peoria Avenue. Proceeds of the sale will help F&CS provide counseling, treatment and support services to children who’ve been abused, families in crisis and individuals faced with overwhelming problems or mental illness.

Local merchants can support the effort by donating unsold stock – including home décor, housewares; women’s, men’s and children’s clothing; accessories and more – to F&CS. The agency will coordinate pick up from stores. Participating merchants may take a tax deduction for any items they donate, will be listed in promotional materials and – best of all! – will have more room on their racks to display the latest spring merchandise. 

Nearly 35 stores and hundreds of bargain-loving shoppers participated in last year’s Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale. To get more information or schedule a pick up date, contact Rochelle Dowdell, the F&CS special events coordinator, at 918.560.1115 or

Boy Scout Gifts F&CS Treasure of Hope Chests

Eagle Scout Chest

Last year, more than 8,100 children and their families walked through the doors of Family & Children’s Services for Child Abuse & Trauma Services (CATS). Our nationally-recognized team of professionals offers hope and recovery for children and their families. The children are cared for in a healing, child-friendly environment and CATS program utilizes evidence-based treatment models which may also involve family members, foster parents and other caregivers in the therapy process.

Christine Marsh, Senior Program Director, points out, “No child leaves Family & Children’s Services empty-handed. Following each session, we have a treasure chest where the child may select a toy, book or puzzle- something age-appropriate- so when they leave, it’s on a positive note.”

It seems fitting that during April, a month recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month, 17 year old Boy Scout Dillon Fowkes selected CATS to be the recipient of his Eagle Scout project. “I wanted to reach more people in the community beyond my church and school. My mom, Sally Fowkes, who works with Family & Children’s Services, said my Eagle Scout project would really help people.”

After careful consideration and consultation with the F&CS staff, Dillon decided to build two new treasure chests for the agency. “I learned how Family & Children’s Services is taking in families who are having a hard time,” Dillon said. “If these treasure chests can make a difficult time a little easier, it’s worth it.”

Dillon’s project would not be a small undertaking. To earn Eagle Scout status he would lead and supervise a team of 15 Boy Scouts. More than 400 hours were spent constructing the treasure chests and the results were tremendous.  “I wanted to make a difference,” Dillon said as he delivered the two treasure chests alongside his mother. He also presented Family & Children’s Services with a $125 gift card to buy treasures for the children who receive therapy.

 The Bishop Kelly senior shared his desire pursue a career in Clinical Psychology and work with children. “I’ve always loved helping others,” he admits. “I’m drawn to it.” A Boy Scout since first grade, Dillon said he wanted to “make a difference” and there is, no doubt, he did.

 “It may look like a treasure chest, but it is much, much more than that.” said Marsh. “It’s a treasure chest of hope.”

 Learn about Family & Children’s Services CATS program and the 49 other programs our agency offers. Your donation offers life-changing services.


Happy Campers Academy Raises $1500 to Support F&CS Programs

Happy Campers2

During a recent bike-a-thon, these Happy Campers raised $1500 to support F&CS services. Their generosity and kindness will help kids who receive services from F&CS in a variety of ways. Upon receipt of the donation, one F&CS staffer asked the kids what it feels like to be such great helpers.  Once child answered, “It makes me feel glad in my heart.”  

A huge thank you to the staff, kids, and parents of Happy Campers Academy!

Want to know you you can help?  Click here to donate today.  

Breaking News: Capital Campaign Goal Reached

We’re excited to announce that we’ve just reached the CrisisCare Center Capital Campaign’s $6.5 million goal.

As many of you know, we opened the doors to the first floor CrisisCare Center last October and have already cared for more than 1,220 Tulsans in crisis. Soon we begin phase two, remodeling the second floor and creating a new, larger home for the Women in Recovery program.

Thank you to all of our life-changing donors.

The Helmerich Trust
The William K. Warren Foundation
Zarrow Families Foundation

Morningcrest Healthcare Foundation
Saint Francis Hospital

George Kaiser Family Foundation
Sarah and John Graves
Herman George Kaiser Foundation and Ruth K. Nelson

A.R. & Marylouise Tandy Foundation
Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation

The Carol Tandy Foundation
Grace and Franklin Bernsen Foundation

Case & Elfreda Zandbergen Foundation
Hardesty Family Foundation
Carolyn Morris

Admiral Express Office Supply
Gail and Les Lapidus
The Mervin Bovaird Foundation
WPX Energy

 Related Articles

CrisisCare Center for Mentally Ill Proves Successful

Family & Children’s Services CrisisCare Center Opens



Family & Children’s Services Meets Planned Giving Challenge

 TCF Big Check 3.25.2014

Family & Children’s Services has successfully met our Tulsa Community Foundation  Planned Giving Challenge goal. Family& Children’s Services was rewarded with a $20,000 grant which will be added to our endowment for surpassing our goal. Family & Children’s Services is one of 43 area nonprofit agencies who participated in the challenge grant program.  Since February, 2012, more than $27 million has been raised by area nonprofits participating in the challenge grant program.  Criterion for meeting our goal was to secure at least three donors and raise $100,000 in future gifts that will ultimately benefit Family & Children’s Services.  



The Tulsa Community Foundation is hosting two upcoming Baby Boomer Sooner- Planning for the Future workshop.

April 22, 2014

5:45 pm Presentation

OU- Tulsa Campus Learning Center Building, Room 145

May 6, 2014

8 am Presentation

OU- Tulsa Campus Learning Center Building, Room 145

RSVP to Susan McCalman, Family & Children’s Services Director of Development 


The Myths and Facts of Gambling Addiction

Since 2008, the F&CS Gambling Program has helped hundreds of individuals find the path to recovery and hope. How much do you know about this “hidden illness?” Here are some myths and facts about the disease:

MYTH: You have to gamble every day to be a problem gambler.
FACT: A problem gambler may gamble frequently or infrequently. Gambling is a problem if it causes problems.

MYTH: Problem gambling is not really a problem if the gambler can afford it.
FACT: Problems caused by excessive gambling are not just financial. Too much time spent on gambling can lead to relationship breakdown and loss of important friendships.

MYTH: Partners of problem gamblers often drive problem gamblers to gamble.
FACT: Problem gamblers often rationalize their behavior. Blaming others is one way to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, including what is needed to overcome the problem.

MYTH: If a problem gambler builds up a debt, you should help them take care of it.
FACT: Quick fix solutions may appear to be the right thing to do. However, bailing the gambler out of debt may actually make matters worse by enabling gambling problems to continue.

If you have a friend or family member who could benefit from our gambling addiction services, share a story of hope with that person by clicking here.  For more information about our program, click here or call 918-587-9471 for an appointment.  

Fleet Feet Presents Donation to WIR

Turkey Trot Check

The folks at Fleet Feet sure know how to shake a tail feather!

Monday evening, Tim Dreiling, Fleet Feet owner, presented a $2500 donation to Women in Recovery Executive Senior Program Director Mimi Tarrasch.  The donation represents the money raised from last November’s Turkey Trot race. The Turkey Trot race, which includes a 5K and one mile fun run, occurs the morning after Thanksgiving. It is known as a fun, family-friendly event that also serves as a great way to burn off that Thanksgiving dinner.While some people are stampeding to the stores on Black Friday, others are heading for the finish line.

Women In Recovery is an intensive outpatient alternative for eligible women facing long prison sentences for non-violent offenses.  Women In Recovery works closely with the criminal justice system and various community partners to ensure participants receive supervision, substance abuse and mental health treatment, education, workforce readiness training and family reunification services.  “Women In Recovery participants have volunteered at many of our races and it’s a wonderful opportunity to give back to this phenomenal program” says Tim Dreiling.

Tarrasch applauds Fleet Feet Sports’ support and points out that both WIR and Fleet Feet shared values in regard to physical activity, healthy lifestyles and long term health benefits. ”They are champions in my book,” she says. “Fleet Feet often donates shoes to WIR with an understanding of the ongoing need for an item many take for granted. Programs like Women in Recovery need public support and having witnessed hundreds of Tulsans pound the pavement is another reminder of how much our community supports each other and we are so appreciative.”   

Rally at Oklahoma State Capitol Focused on Mental Health Funding

Yesterday, a tour bus full of F&CS staff, consumers, and community partners made the trek to Oklahoma City for the My Mind Matters Day at the Capitol 2014.  

Mental health providers, families and individuals concerned about mental health and substance abuse services attended a full day of activities  to advocate for full funding of behavioral health and addiction services. Terry White, the Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, said it is a shame that mental illness wreaks more havoc in the lives of Oklahoma families than any other illness.  She stated that mental illness and addiction account for the majority of lost productivity at work.  In a state focused on economic growth, this is a huge issue.  White led the crowd of mental health advocates in a rousing chant, “Fully Fund Mental Health and Addiction Services!”  The chant could be heard all throughout the capitol building.


F&CS staff and consumers met with their representatives after the rally.   They passed out flyers with client stories and passed on their own experiences to select legislators.  If you would like to have your voice heard on this important matter, you can find your legislator and his/her contact information by clicking here.

Echo the message we left behind yesterday to fully fund mental health and addiction services! Help us spread the word that Family & Children’s Services’ 49 unique programs can help give hope for recovery.  

CATS Home Based Services Break Down Barriers To Treatment

Let us introduce you to the CATS (Child Abuse Trauma Services) Home Based Services.  Our home based services team began taking cases in January of 2013.  Four specially trained therapists and one case manager have seen a total of 61 cases at last report. 

Home-based services are designed for families that have barriers – such as a lack of reliable transportation, child care issues and other complications – which prevent them from coming to a traditional office setting for treatment. In the home, our highly skilled therapists help children overcome a wide range of problems – from mild to severe – that can develop following traumatic events.

Our CATS Home Based Services program is yet another example of Family & Children’s Services’ unique effort to treat kids effected by child abuse in our community.  

To learn more about CATS’ services, click here.

Related Post:  How You Can Make a Difference in a Child’s Life – Child Abuse Prevention Month


How You Can Make a Difference in a Child’s Life – Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention month and there are many ways you can make a difference in a child’s life.  

Download 101 Ways to Praise a Child by clicking here.  Your words matter, and telling the important kids in your life that they are special is a great place to start.  Share the download with all your friends and family.  

Carrie Little, F&CS’s Community Relations Manager, spoke on Fox23′s Great Day Green Country about other ways you can make a difference.  Click here to watch the segment.  

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the Oklahoma Hotline to report the situation: (800) 522-3511.

It is up to us to make our community safe for our kids.  Family & Children’s Services can help your family when you need us.  Our 49 programs are designed to  strengthen families, heal children who’ve been abused or suffered other trauma, help divorced parents meet their children’s needs, bring recovery to those struggling with mental illness or addiction, restore children’s well-being, provide comprehensive treatment as an alternative to incarceration for non-violent, prison-bound women; assist with unexpected events and transitions, and enhance parenting skills.

F&CS Strives To Hire ALL Internship and Practicum Students Trained In Our Programs

At F&CS we strive to employ the interns we train extensively in our programs. F&CS hiring managers, our Human Resource Department, and our Students Services team partnered today to hold the very first F&CS Intern Job Fair. The fair was open to all graduating interns eligible for hire.  Ten students attended, along with twelve program hiring managers.  Claudia Arthrell, our F&CS Student Practicum Placement Coordinator, said that the fair’s goal was to explore strengths of programs and employment opportunities for students to consider.

The twelve hiring managers, including Krista Lewis our Chief Program Officer for Medical and Crisis Services, spoke in depth about their programs and open positions.  Students left feeling excited about their futures within the agency.  One of the interns likened the event to the “NBA draft process” and stated that it felt good to be recruited so strongly.  The fair reiterated the message sent to students from their first interviews throughout the final days of their internships or practicums.

The F&CS  message to students is:  “We want to match your passion and future vision for yourself and your career with one of our wonderful and exciting programs.  Of our 49 different programs- which is right for you?  We know at least one will be!”

Related Post: 49 Programs- Which is right for you?