The driveway onto the property of Sand Springs Home is lined with mature trees, and in the summer is green as far as the eye can see. It has the feel of driving into a park or resort. A visitor will see pristine grounds, houses, and a huge activity center. At once, a feeling of calm is palpable. Social Worker Courtney Noah calls it, “The most wonderful place in the world to work.”

Recently, CPC staff received a tour of the Sand Springs Children’s Home and learned the history of the charity. Staff spoke with Executive Director, Jason Charles, about the home and his role. Here is what he shared:

CPC: What are the challenges you face within the child welfare system in Tulsa?

One of our challenges is public knowledge and support.  Sand Springs Home is funded by the Charles Page Trust, so we have not traditionally done fund raising or public awareness activities.  We need more people in the area to know about our services and how they can get involved.  This would help increase our support and volunteer base, as well as help people in the community know the types of kids/families that we serve so that they will refer them to us.

CPC: What do you feel are the positive impacts you make on kids’ lives in our community?

Sand Springs Home operates 2 charities.  Sand Springs Children’s Home accepts children who are in the foster care system in Oklahoma.  We focus mostly on teenagers and sibling groups.  We provide long term care for kids in a family setting.  We have 2 homes on campus which can house 8-10 kids each.  Sand Springs Home builds an individual plan for each child and works to meet their unique needs.  All of the children here attend public school and are encouraged to be involved in extra-curricular activities.  Our goal is to provide a home that allows kids to have a sense of normalcy and involvement in their school and community.  We also have apartments on campus for youth who have completed high school and need continued support.  At this time, we have 10 youth in college in our Independent Living program.

Our other charity is the Charles Page Family Village.  This is a housing and support program for single mothers and their children.  We have 108 duplex-style houses for families on our property.  Many of these families are homeless prior to coming to our program.  Length of stay in the Family Village varies depending on the needs of the family.  Some mothers can stay until their youngest child graduates from high school.  While families are here, they have access to our Activity Center, which provides after school programming for school aged children.

CPC: What is the one thing you would like the public to know about the work you do?

That we serve kids in the DHS foster system at no charge to the state.  Our contract is a no-pay contract, so the services we provide are entirely privately funded.

CPC: Why do you feel it is important for your agency to be involved in the Child Protection Coalition?

We have enjoyed being a part of the Child Protection Coalition.  We have formed positive relationships with other agencies in our community and we are more involved and aware of issues related to the child care system because of our involvement.

To learn more about this amazing organization and the history behind Charles Page’s vision for children and the Sand Springs community, visit the Sand Springs Home website:

The Sand Springs Home Activity Center includes a game room, full gym, racquetball court, movie theater, dining room, and study hall.  Staff at the SSHAC lead kids in activities promote teamwork, sportsmanship, and physical health.

The Sand Springs Home Activity Center includes a game room, full gym, racquetball court, movie theater, dining room, and study hall. Staff at the SSHAC lead kids in activities promote teamwork, sportsmanship, and physical health.

DHS News release, August 3, 2016
DHS announces budget cuts for state fiscal year 2017

Director Ed Lake says agency will seek supplemental funding.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, facing a more than $100 million shortfall in its current fiscal year budget, announced $45 million in reductions the agency is beginning to make. DHS warned that supplemental funding will be needed early in the next calendar year for the agency to make it through the fiscal year without serious consequences.

“We have been upfront with legislative leaders all year long about the DHS budget, our increasing costs, and the limitations we face when trying to make reductions,” said DHS Director Ed Lake.  “It is fiscally impossible to reduce $100 million out of our budget without putting thousands of vulnerable Oklahomans at risk.”

At the end of the legislative session, Lake said there was an agreement and expectation by legislative leaders that DHS would not make cuts to Medicaid programs that provide home-based care to older Oklahomans and persons with disabilities; however, there was also an expectation that DHS request supplemental funding to help bridge the significant budget gap that would result.  Lake said even with the $45 million in budget reductions, by Spring of 2017 the agency may not have the ability to make payroll or pay contractors that provide direct care to the thousands of Oklahomans the agency serves.

Read the entire OKDHS News Release by CLICKING HERE!