OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is working with community leaders from across the state to compile a list of organizations which will provide child care and nutrition programs during the upcoming planned education walkout in April.
OICA CEO Joe Dorman said that the organization was working to ensure children do not fall through the cracks while the state tackles its education and teacher pay issues.
“While teachers and other personnel are continuing the discussion regarding potential salary increases, we want to make certain the children of the state are not forgotten,” said Dorman. “This is an important time for finding a solution on a much-needed pay raise for educators and other support staff, but we cannot forget those young Oklahomans who rely on a safe place to be during the school week.”
Organizations that are offering services to children and families can contact OICA at email@example.com in order to have their information listed by community. Once uploaded, Oklahomans will be given options listed at www.oica.org on where their children can be taken during the day for child care and food services while parents/guardians are at work.
“We are encouraging any program which can offer support to help during this time,” said Dorman. “We are certain many churches, nonprofits and other organizations will offer their help, so we are happy to operate as the point of contact to help distribute this information by community.”
Dorman said an example is the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, which is preparing and distributing family boxes of food to impacted families.
Currently, 436,000 children in Oklahoma are participants in the National Free and Reduced Lunch Program according to data from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Many of these children are also supported by backpack programs which send food home over the weekend for families in need.
“I do not want to see a single child go hungry during this important discussion,” said Dorman. “OICA is not only the voice for Oklahoma’s children, but we also want to serve as the voice for these organizations who are willing to step up and help these kids during this debate.”
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is a statewide nonprofit policy organization that works for the benefit of the 800,000 children residing our state. OICA has been in operation for 35 years and works on advocacy issues and operates the OK Foster Wishes program.