|Cristi Heath is an advocate for Native American Children, having worked for the Department of Human Services for over 17 years.|
Cristi Heath, Yukon, Oklahoma, has been selected by the National Indian Child Welfare Association as a 2022 Champion for Native Children.
A member of the Choctaw Nation, Heath has worked for the Department of Human Services (DHS) for over 17 years and has spent most of her career with DHS in Oklahoma county.
She received her associate degree from Rose State College with honors and was a part of the Sociological Honor Society. She received her bachelor’s degree from the Univ. of Central Okla. (UCO) in Edmond, Okla., graduating magna cum laude.
Heath said, "When I started with the Department of Human Services, I did investigations (Child Protective Services) for four and a half years. Then I was part of the pilot program that they started in Oklahoma County called Kinship Foster Care. I worked doing that for a year and then supervised Kinship Foster Care in Oklahoma County from 2006-2009."
She went on to reading home studies for people who wanted to be foster parents.
"I did what they called Family Centered Services for five years, supervised that for five years. And then I came to STPU (Specialized Placement and Partnership Unit) and have been doing that for the last two years," said Heath.
On a day-to-day basis, Heath oversees the DHS youth in shelters across the state of Oklahoma. She supervises four liaisons who are each assigned a region of Oklahoma with 21 shelters that have placement of DHS youth. The liaisons check the shelters, assess safety, and see how the kids are doing.