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Tulsa County’s contribution to state female incarceration rate falling

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma remains tops for incarcerating women in the United States, but Tulsa County’s contribution to that rate is falling, the Tulsa World’s Ginnie Graham reports.

The story, which you can find here, states that the county’s contribution to that rate has been falling since 2011, except for a jump in 2013 attributed to a move of state prisoners out of county jails.

WIR Grad 1The story  details a number of alternative to incarceration programs in Tulsa, including Women’s Defense Team and Women in Recovery, which Family & Children’s Services operates in partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation. The story credits WIR with beginning the momentum toward lowering female incarceration in 2008, the year the program began.

Women in Recovery is an intensive outpatient alternative to incarceration for those facing long prison sentences because of non-violent, drug-related offenses. WIR organizers work with the criminal justice system and others to give its women the supervision they need, along with substance abuse counseling, mental health treatment, education, workforce training and family reunification to ensure they break the cycle of re-offending.

 16 women graduated from the program last June. An additional 17 graduated last October, with 234 graduated since its inception.
F&CS is proud to be a part of the solution and thanks its partners, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, and its commitment to breaking the cycle of inter-generational incarceration.

About Family & Children’s Services

For 90 years, Family & Children’s Services has been the place to turn for help with problems that seem overwhelming and too difficult to handle alone. The agency restores children’s well-being, heals victims of abuse, strengthens individuals and families, and provides hope and recovery for adults suffering from mental illness and addictions. Today, its life-changing services help one in six Tulsans.

Family & Children’s Services is a partner agency of the Tulsa Area United Way. F&CS is also a member of the following national organizations: Mental Health Corporations of America and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. F&CS is certified with distinction as a community mental health center by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. F&CS is also certified with distinction as a Community Mental Health Center by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Additionally, F&CS is certified by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services as an Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program and certified with distinction as a Gambling Treatment Program.

Oklahoma Department of Human Services and F&CS partnership helps foster children

An innovative partnership begun last year between Family & Children’s Services and Oklahoma Department of Human Services is helping foster children with a unique set of needs that can lead to them falling through the cracks.

Last month, that partnership, Tulsa County Cross System Youth Project, graduated its first five students.

“Basically, these are the children the system or systems have trouble keeping sheltered, either in group homes or in foster care,” said Whitney Downie, F&CS chief program officer of Children’s Mental Health and Family Support.

Each was in the program for about a year, Downie said. They learn independent living skills, work toward their GED, develop personal skills, get treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues, and develop job skills.

Children in the program, of which there are 40, have the most advanced needs of children in OKDHS custody and the Tulsa County juvenile justice system. Many have been hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. Many struggle to cope with substance abuse and exhibit disruptive behavior at school, which leads to suspensions. They also have academic issues and tend to engage in delinquency.

Before the partnership, the justice system dealt with those issues alone, and the foster care system managed issues related to keeping the children placed in foster or group homes. There was no go-between to help unite the two and provide the kids needed access to mental health care, education, and medical services.

That led to the project’s birth, with Family & Children’s Services acting as a net catching the children who fall between the two agencies’ grasps.

“This really is about providing better services to kids who need a higher level of care than the system has provided previously,” Downie said. “Ideally, once they’ve been through the program, they’re less likely to be incarcerated, become addicted to drugs or suffer from mental illnesses later in life.”

Last month’s graduation was attended by representatives from the Department of Human Services, the Tulsa County Juvenile Bureau, the Tulsa County Child Protection Coalition, the Community Service Council, and the children’s foster families and supporters.

 

About Family & Children’s Services

For 90 years, Family & Children’s Services has been the place to turn for help with problems that seem overwhelming and too difficult to handle alone. The agency restores children’s well-being, heals victims of abuse, strengthens individuals and families, and provides hope and recovery for adults suffering from mental illness and addictions. Today, its life-changing services help one in six Tulsans.

Family & Children’s Services is a partner agency of the Tulsa Area United Way. F&CS is also a member of the following national organizations: Mental Health Corporations of America and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. F&CS is certified with distinction as a community mental health center by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. F&CS is also certified with distinction as a Community Mental Health Center by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Additionally, F&CS is certified by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services as an Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program and certified with distinction as a Gambling Treatment Program.

 

Dedicated donors give to 24-hour emergency psychiatric team

TULSA, Okla. — Dedicated Family & Children’s Services donors Sarah and John Graves have donated $100,000 to the nonprofit’s 24-7 psychiatric crisis response team.

Sarah and John Graves 2

Sarah and John Graves

The money will help COPES – or Community Outreach Psychiatric Emergency Services – ensure the team remains available 24 hours a day.

“The Graves have just been jaw droppingly generous to F&CS,” said Susan McCalman, F&CS’ director of development. “We are eternally grateful for their generosity.”

COPES is the state’s only 24-7 team dedicated to helping adults and children suffering a psychiatric crisis, whether that be thoughts of suicide or harming others.

Its team of therapists is also a resource for area law enforcement, who rely on the team when they deal with the severely mentally ill.

“This money from Sarah and John Graves will literally save lives in the Tulsa area,” said F&CS CEO Gail Lapidus. “We can’t thank them enough.”

Sarah and John Graves are the namesake of 65,000 square-foot F&CS outpatient treatment facility and pharmacy, the Sarah and John Graves Center at 2325 S. Harvard Ave. constructed in 2011. They began donating to F&CS in 2008.

John Graves owns Cyclonic Valve Co., a Tulsa company that makes valves for the energy industry.

About Family & Children’s Services

For 90 years, Family & Children’s Services has been the place to turn for help with problems that seem overwhelming and too difficult to handle alone. The agency restores children’s well-being, heals victims of abuse, strengthens individuals and families, and provides hope and recovery for adults suffering from mental illness and addictions. Today, its life-changing services help one in six Tulsans.

Family & Children’s Services is a partner agency of the Tulsa Area United Way. F&CS is also a member of the following national organizations: Mental Health Corporations of America and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. F&CS is certified with distinction as a community mental health center by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. F&CS is also certified with distinction as a Community Mental Health Center by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Additionally, F&CS is certified by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services as an Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program and certified with distinction as a Gambling Treatment Program.

My Fit Foods’ F&CS donation provides 20 meals daily

My Fit Foods_RGB Donna Wilcox

Donna Wilcox, My Fit Foods nutrition coach, shows the Cherry Street store’s collection of fresh, healthy meals available to customers. The store donates food to Family & Children’s Services Early Childhood Program clients.

TULSA, Okla. – Family & Children’s Services has partnered with a Midtown Tulsa health food retailer that’s benefiting clients in need.

The partnership with My Fit Foods, an Austin-based chain with more than 50 locations in five states, provides F&CS Early Childhood Program clients about 20 free healthy meals – packed with vegetables and other fresh ingredients – per day.

Taryn Maness, the general manager of the chain’s location at 1601 E. 15th St., said the store’s charitable contribution is going to a great place.

“The people who work at Family & Children’s Services are amazing and always helpful,” Maness said. “I know a lot of people in the area need help, too.”

Curtis Peebles, F&CS community resource coordinator, said he approached the store two years ago. The manager then, Jack Jones, agreed to donate food that was still good, but its sell-by date had expired.

“So we pick the food up, hold it for eight hours, and either give it away or toss what is left by 4 p.m. the next day,” Peebles said.

Peebles noted the food has its nutritional value listed on the bottom of each package, and that its contents are good for people wanting to eat healthily.

Melissa Robinson, program manager with F&CS Early Childhood Program, said the meals are a huge benefit to people in need.

Most F&CS clients live in poverty. Often, one of their chief concerns is where they will get their next meal.

“With reductions in government programs such as food stamps, along with rising costs of food, housing and utilities costs force families to choose between buying food and paying bills,” said Robinson, who added that families often have trouble getting to food pantries. “My Fit meals have made it possible to provide healthy meals to our families who need emergency food.”

For information on how your business can support Family & Children’s Services, call 918-587-9471.

 

About Family & Children’s Services

For 90 years, Family & Children’s Services has been the place to turn for help with problems that seem overwhelming and too difficult to handle alone. The agency restores children’s well-being, heals victims of abuse, strengthens individuals and families, and provides hope and recovery for adults suffering from mental illness and addictions. Today, its life-changing services help one in six Tulsans.

Family & Children’s Services is a partner agency of the Tulsa Area United Way. F&CS is also a member of the following national organizations: Mental Health Corporations of America and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. F&CS is certified with distinction as a community mental health center by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. F&CS is also certified with distinction as a Community Mental Health Center by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Additionally, F&CS is certified by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services as an Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program and certified with distinction as a Gambling Treatment Program.

Care Cards sales, events to benefit Family & Children’s Services

Get ready for Care Card events and more to be happening all over Tulsa in the next 10 days. The annual shopping event features local retailers who are participating in the Care Card promotional fundraisers that benefit Tulsa’s Family & Children’s Services.

Read the entire Tulsa World article right here.

Channel 8 Good Day Tulsa Live Interview

 

Recovering from traumatic events: talk about it, get help if problems persist

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Events like what happened Saturday in Stillwater can affect people for the rest of their lives in profound and unrealized ways, depending on how they and others around them handle it, said Claudia Arthrell, Family & Children’s Services director of professional services.

Police report a woman drove her car at high speed into a crowd of people – children and their families – assembled for Oklahoma State University’s homecoming parade. Four were killed, including a 2-year-old boy, dozens were injured and police arrested the driver, who was later charged with second-degree murder. Witnesses described seeing people flying through the air from the collision, an image seen by dozens of children and their families.

Mental health professionals understand trauma might affect children’s brains in lasting ways, such as greater difficulties concentrating and managing stress, or in manners similar to certain kinds of traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions.

Parenting can be the equalizer, Arthrell said. But how does a parent talk to his her child about what he or she has seen?

Perhaps a parent’s greatest fear is powerlessness to protect his or her children. We may not be able to protect our children from everything.

But Arthrell has some methods to help parents help their children cope when events defy explanation.

  1. Keep children grounded in the present. Try to divert their attention to current things that inspire positive feelings and emotions.
  1. Try to get them plenty of exercise, and avoid down time.
  1. Explain and reassure – offer physical comfort for younger children (hugs are good) and assurances you will do your best to help them understand what is happening.
  1. Encourage but don’t force your children to discuss their feelings. Talk regularly and often with them (that’s something you should do anyway).
  1. Provide simple, accurate information appropriate for your child’s age.
  1. Children crave structure. Maintain positive interactions with your children – play together, read together. Show them your relationship with them remains intact.
  1. Recognize the role other children play within and beyond your family. Communication between siblings and friends can help or hinder coping.
  1. Hold family meetings to keep lines of communication open and to reinforce the positives.  Meetings help combat the negatives.

It’s time to ask for professional help if, long after the event has passed, a child continues to refer to what happened, or shows greater fearfulness.

See below for parent resources helping children cope with violence and trauma.

“What Parents Can Do” – National Institute of Mental Health

“Information for Parents on Childhood Traumatic Grief” – National Child Traumatic Stress Network

“Age-Related Reactions to Traumatic Events” – National Child Traumatic Stress Network

“Helping Young Children Who Have Been Exposed to Trauma: For Families and Caregivers” – National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Women in Recovery: Video from Champions of Health

Have you seen this? This is video from our Champions of Health award Women in Recovery recently won.

WIR is a partnership between F&CS and the George Kaiser Family Foundation to end Oklahoma’s dubious distinction of sending more women to prison than any other state in the nation and break the cycle of incarceration for justice-involved women’s families.

F&CS lauds outstanding donor

Nashes Board Meeting 1

Buford Nash accepts Family & Children’s Services Outstanding Donor Award from board president Steve Wyett and F&CS CEO Gail Lapidus during the Oct. 13 board meeting.

 

TULSA, Okla. — F&CS honored one of its most dedicated donors during its board meeting Tuesday.

Buford and Eileen Nash were presented with the Outstanding Donor Award for their 12 years’ and 95 donations’ worth of support to F&CS. Buford retired recently from his post as maintenance and biohazardous waste director at Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health.

We thank the Nashes for their support and loyalty over the years, and wish them the best in retirement.

 

F&CS fetes Care Card participating merchants

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We had a lot of fun at our #CareCardOK merchant kickoff at Utica Square. It was a beautiful fall morning, and tons of…

Posted by Family & Children’s Services Care Card on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Family & Children’s Services hosted its Care Card participating merchants last week at Utica Square to kick off the fundraiser, which benefits F&CS and gives consumers 20 percent off at Tulsa retailers.

Merchants with more than 200 Tulsa area stores flocked to the Wednesday morning event, which featured refreshments donated by Starbucks, breakfast from Wild Fork, and send off speeches from F&CS CEO Gail Lapidus, Care Card chairwoman Melissa Siemens and KTUL co-anchor Erin Christy.

“This was our way of thanking our merchants and sponsors,” said Susan McCalman, F&CS development director. “It was a gorgeous fall morning.”

Care Card, which runs from Oct. 30 to Nov. 8, has raised more than $1 million for F&CS’ life-changing programs since its inception in 1999.

“This year we have over 200 merchants and almost 50 volunteers committed to selling Care Cards or assisting the merchants with anything they need,” Siemens said. “This is a huge help to F&CS – boots on the ground spreading the word.”

With no upfront cost, Care Card benefits merchants by listing them in a shopping directory more than 2,000 shoppers receive. Merchants also get web and social media exposure, as well as advertising in the Tulsa World and TulsaPeople listing all the participants.

Care Card is a win-win for stores because it gets consumers shopping while also keeping their money local.

www.carecardok.com

www.facebook.com/FCSCareCard

www.twitter.com/FCS_CareCard

https://instagram.com/carecardok/

Caring for a Cause: Melissa Siemens Chairs Care Card 2015

Family & Children’s Services volunteer, Melissa Siemens, shares why she is serving as the Care Card 2015 chair.

Read entire Tulsa Kids magazine article here.