NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
I read Joy Hampton’s heart-wrenching interview with April Doshier. According to Ms. Doshier, “... young children tend to be very confused about why they have no home. Older children tend to take on responsibility on how to fix this. Both of those experiences are very traumatic for children.” Ms. Doshier informs us that there are 357 homeless children in Norman.
The catch phrase “homeless children” calls to mind children living on the street, not getting enough to eat, not have adequate clothing for inclement weather, not enrolled in school and not getting dental care, medical care and vision care.
The homeless parents of those homeless children are perhaps unable or unwilling to provide the basic necessities for their offspring.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is, now that Ms. Doshier has identified and located the 357 homeless children among us, the Department of Human Services is ready to step in and take remedial action.
In tandem with the district attorney’s office, the Norman Police Department and our illustrious panel of magistrates at the Cleveland County Courthouse, DHS — acting under Title 10 of the Oklahoma Statutes — can take those homeless children into custody and place each one of them in foster care.
The homeless children will be homeless no more. Every child will have a real home with caring foster parents. Each child will be properly fed at least three meals a day, seven days a week. He or she will be provided with the proper clothing appropriate for the season. Each child will be enrolled in school, and his or her foster parents will guide the child in doing homework and making good grades. Additionally, each child will have access to dental care, medical care and vision care.
The homeless parents, at the same time, will be given lessons in child rearing. Those parents who are alcohol or drug dependent will receive drug and alcohol evaluations and/or mental health evaluations. Inpatient or outpatient treatment for alcohol dependency or drug abuse will be made available to parents. Perhaps job training will be available for unemployed parents so that, someday, they will be employable.
In good time, when a child’s parents are deemed capable, in the discretion of DHS and the courts, of resuming their parental duties, that child will be returned to the parents, subject to monitoring for a probationary period of time by DHS.
It’s up to Ms. Doshier to cooperate fully with DHS. She must provide a list of the names and locations of the 357 homeless children. Alongside the name of each child should be their gender, date of birth and ethnicity. Thanks to Ms. Doshiers tireless work, 357 homeless children will have a chance for a better life.