By Darian Towner, Family Preservation Coordinator

Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Family Preservation Program operates under FireLodge Children & Family Services and strives to preserve Native American families. The goal of the program is to help families sustain an environment of safety and well-being by addressing family issues through a holistic approach. The program places a great focus on prevention and early intervention but also works with families whose children have been removed or who are at risk of removal from the home.

Services are easily accessible and delivered in a manner that respects cultural heritage, values and traditions. Each family is unique, and services are provided as needed by each individual family and can include parenting classes, family budgeting classes, case management, family support, referrals to community resources, home visits and financial assistance on a case-by-case basis.

The program is available to CPN tribal members as well as other Native Americans who live in the program’s area whose children are at risk of removal or who have been removed.

Families that seek assistance from family preservation vary greatly in their needs. One family may only be interested in parenting classes to learn skills and complete their Individualized Service Plan from either the Oklahoma Department of Human Services or an Indian Child Welfare program. Another family may be referred to family preservation by a separate program or department prior to the child’s removal with weekly home visits, referrals to community resources or assistance with a particular need.

We believe children should remain with their families and be served in their local communities when possible, but we also understand that cannot always happen. If a family is currently working a on plan in order to get their children returned, family preservation can encourage and assist the family in completing the steps required by their plan.

Parenting can be a difficult job in general, but it can feel quite impossible when life delivers setback after setback. We’re here to help Native American families and children in need and would love to have a conversation with you to discuss your current situation and needs.

If your children have been removed for child abuse or neglect or might be at risk of removal, please reach out to family preservation. For more information, contact Darian Towner at 405-878-4831 or visit our Facebook page @CPNFireLodge.