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UCO to Host Panel on Foster Care in Oklahoma

Aug. 13, 2014 

Media Contact: Lindsay Houts, Staff Writer, UCO University Relations, 405-974-2121,


The Volunteer and Service Learning Center (VSLC) at the University of Central Oklahoma will host a panel of experts to discuss the issues surrounding child welfare and foster care in Oklahoma from 4-5 p.m. Aug. 21 in the W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Center auditorium.

The panel is being offered in conjunction with this year’s Broncho Difference event, “Love Luggage.” Students will decorate donated pieces of luggage to be given to children in foster care, providing a sturdy, secure item for their clothes and personal items.           

Seabrook Griffin, education specialist for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS), Kerri Kearney, Ed.D., associate professor of higher education and student affairs at Oklahoma State University, and Karen Vinyard-Waddell, president and CEO of The Lynn Institutes and chair of the Children and Family Citizen Advisory Panel for OKDHS, will discuss their unique roles in the state’s foster care system, the wide impact of the foster care system and how to best support foster children and former foster children in the community.

“The welfare of children and future generations is an important topic for every state. The foster care system in Oklahoma is one of the important vehicles in our state for meeting the needs of children who are displaced from their homes for a short or long period of time,” said Sharra Hynes, Ph.D., executive director of experiential learning at Central.

“We know that awareness and education are two of our responsibilities as a university and we want to make our students, faculty and staff aware of the challenges and complexities of foster care within our state.”

The panel is free and open to the public, however space is limited. For more information, contact Patrick Tadlock, assistant director of the VSLC, at 405-974-2621 or