As a mother and a conservative, I hold these two commitments simultaneously: (1) Society is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members, including children, and, so, we do have a collective responsibility to meet the needs of children and (2) A limited government is more conducive to human flourishing than an expansive one.
Two years ago this summer, I resigned my position as a director of communications to become a so-called “stay-at-home mom.” At eight months pregnant with my first baby, I knew I wanted to devote myself full-time to civilizing my children and to ordering my household.
Oklahoma has made a substantial and wise investment over the past four years in improving its child welfare services. I have the privilege of leading the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the opportunity to see and hear stories every day that demonstrate why we do this work with such passion. This work isn’t just about following sound and effective policies and practices; it’s about people—children, families, foster parents, and case workers.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “pinnacle” as the point of greatest success or achievement. Pinnacle is the word used to describe the aspirations of Oklahoma’s child welfare system as published in the “Pinnacle Plan” by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS). The Pinnacle Plan is the response to a federal lawsuit against the State of Oklahoma alleging chronic maltreatment of the more than 10,000 children in state custody in the child welfare system. The settlement agreement to end the lawsuit required the state to undertake extensive reforms to improve the child welfare system.
A few years ago, my wife and I began to feel called to foster after being challenged by our pastor, Craig Groeschel, and his wife, Amy. Life.Church consistently reminds its members that we’re called not to be spiritual consumers, but spiritual contributors. Stings a little, doesn’t it? Good.
We saw a need, the tug was there, and it was time to act. The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing. So (after a lot of talking) that’s what we did.