Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner are creating a $500 monthly transition stipend for Cherokee youth who are “aging out” of the foster system. Cherokee Nation is also providing a one-time COVID-19 impact payment of $1,000 to the tribe’s more than 80 current foster families.
The announcement of the two new programs was made as Cherokee Nation leaders gathered to sign a proclamation declaring May as Foster Care Awareness Month.
The Fostering HOPE pilot program will provide a $500 monthly stipend to eligible Cherokee Nation citizens who are aging out of the Cherokee Nation or State of Oklahoma foster care systems upon turning 18 years old. Eligible citizens in the state’s foster care system must reside within the Cherokee Nation Reservation. There are no residency requirements for citizens who are in the Cherokee Nation foster care system.
Participants must be employed, actively seeking employment, or working toward career training or a degree program within the first two months of participation in order to continue in the program. Monthly stipends can begin the month a participant turns 18 years old and end at age 21. Those who are actively working toward a career training or degree program at age 21 may remain in the program until age 23 or until their training or degree is complete.
As part of their participation, Cherokee Nation citizens enrolled in the Fostering HOPE program will meet with a program counselor every two months, complete financial wellness curriculum four times per year, and must meet other eligibility requirements as outlined by the tribe. The pilot program will begin June 1 with enrollment ceasing Dec. 31, 2024.