Joe Dorman

Recent Articles

OICA Praises Legislators for Creating Trauma-Informed Care Task Force

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman today praised the state Legislature for passing Senate Bill 1517, which creates a task force to make data-driven, results oriented policy recommendations regarding trauma-informed care. Studies show that 45 percent of children in the United States have experienced at least one of the following Adverse Childhood Experiences: economic hardship, parental divorce or separation, parental death, parental incarceration, violence among adults in the home, victim of or witness to neighborhood violence, living with a mentally ill adult, or living with someone who has a substance use problem. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has worked closely with the Potts Family Foundation and other partners to increase awareness among Oklahoma state legislators about the proven social impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences. An interim study was held at OICA’s request by the Oklahoma House of Representatives last summer that looked at the impact of traumatic experiences and how they can be addressed. Following that study, State Senator A.J. Griffin and House author Rep. Carol Bush filed SB 1517, creating a new task force on trauma-informed care. Continue Reading →

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Teacher pay raises aren’t a done deal yet

A veto referendum could delay or reverse the funding mechanism for teacher pay
I am usually not the gloom-and-doom kind of person, but I am worried that Oklahoma is about to sleepwalk into a budget-related nightmare that policy-makers never anticipated. If you are thinking — “we are already living through that nightmare!” — you may have a point. However, our state Constitution leaves us uniquely exposed to political maneuvers that could cripple our budget and possibly even reverse the recently passed teacher and state employee pay raises. Those raises, along with additional funding for education, are sorely needed. The Legislature passed a historic $428.5 million revenue package to fund them, which is a good thing. Continue Reading →

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Preventing Toxic Stress in Children

Stress is an issue that impacts everyone.  Regardless of your age, your income level or where you live, stress affects the health and well-being of every single person on this planet. Children oftentimes are the most susceptible to stress.  Parents or caregivers will attest to hearing at some point from a child that some experience is the most traumatic event to ever happen to them.  Adults often feel the incident is overblown, but in the context of a child’s short life and limited experiences, that situation might indeed be the most traumatizing event in his or her young life. Each child is different and has their own level of tolerance for stress.  Through the science of studying Adverse Childhood Experiences, researchers have been able to classify stress at three different stages: positive, tolerable and toxic. Positive stress can actually be a good thing.  According to research by Harvard University, “this a normal and essential part of healthy development, characterized by brief increases in heart rate and mild elevations in hormone levels. Some situations that might trigger a positive stress response are the first day with a new caregiver or receiving an injected immunization.”

Tolerable stress is not considered good for the body, but it is also not something classified as life-threatening in the long term. Continue Reading →

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How a Federal Shutdown Impacts Kids and Families

On Monday, we saw the US Senate pass legislation to keep the federal government running for three more weeks. If passed by both bodies and signed by President Trump, the agreement would extend funding and allow further negotiations on issues outside the budget discussion. Both sides in Congress feel they are fighting for a principled stand on immigration and budget reform.  Democrats want to see rights given to children who were brought to the US by parents without legal status, as well as increased funding for domestic, non-defense programs. Republicans have yet to allow a vote on the issue of “Dreamers” to be given legal status, but have committed to bring this up for a vote. What is the result of a government shutdown then? It is important to know, should this happen again on February 8. Continue Reading →

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Take Me (and Oklahoma’ Children) Out to the Ball-Game

Oklahoma- On January 31, the Bricktown Rotary will honor Clayton Kershaw of the LA Dodgers with their annual Warren Spahn award, named after an Oklahoman who was one of the all-time great Major League pitchers. The upcoming award ceremony got me thinking about baseball in America and its unique relationship with race. Last year was the 70th anniversary of desegregation in Major League Baseball, a major milestone in the civil rights movement. Baseball has always been thought of as “America’s Pastime,” and the victory won by players like Jackie Robinson resonated far beyond sports. It was a cultural and political victory for all black Americans. Continue Reading →

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Children’s Agenda for the New Year

For those who are involved in politics and policy at the Oklahoma State Capitol, 2017 feels like the year that will never end. Special legislative sessions, elusive budget deals, and an early start to political campaigning have given this year an endless “Ground Hog Day” vibe that makes it seem like 2018 exists only in the distant future. Nevertheless, the New Year is practically here, and it may surprise the public to learn that the bill-filing deadline for the 2018 legislative session is this Friday, December 8. Bills filed before Friday do not necessarily need to be in their detailed, final form; most are “shell bills” that simply identify a topic. In that spirit, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has identified five priority areas we hope our lawmakers make the focal point of their legislation. Continue Reading →

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Be a Surrogate Santa: Support OK Foster Wishes

There are some projects that are so fun or rewarding that they just do not seem much like work.  One of those is an exciting new endeavor the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is taking on that will help spread some holiday cheer!  We were recently asked to help OK Foster Wishes and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) lead a gift drive that will ultimately deliver holiday presents to approximately 6,000 children in foster care. OK Foster Wishes has worked closely with DHS for years to assemble “wish lists” that foster kids and parents pass on to their caseworkers. OK Foster Wishes then matches those wish lists to Oklahomans who volunteer to buy a present on those lists, or to make a monetary donation that covers the costs. DHS then works to deliver those toys to the right children and families. This year, OICA is playing a lead role in raising toys and cash, and we are asking the public to help in one of two ways:
1.         Individuals interested in making a monetary contribution can donate online at okfosterwishes.org or by calling (405) 236-5437. Continue Reading →

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Feed the Children Joins OICA and DHS to Support Gift Drive for Foster Children

OKLAHOMA CITY – Feed the Children has joined a growing coalition of businesses and individuals helping the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to deliver over 6,000 gifts to children in foster care this holiday season. The effort is part of the OK Foster Wishes program, which collects gift “wish lists” from foster children and matches them with those interested in donating. Feed the Children is providing warehouse space to store all of the donated gifts as well as some transportation support as needed. Due to the on-going relationship Feed the Children has had with DHS throughout the years, Travis Arnold, president and CEO of Feed the Children, believes this partnership was a natural fit for Feed the Children. “We have already committed to feeding 10,000 Oklahomans through our No Hunger Holidays initiative, and now we are excited to be a part of bringing 6,000 toys to children across the state,” said Travis Arnold. Continue Reading →

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Be a Surrogate Santa: Support OK Foster Wishes

Oklahoma-There are some projects that are so fun or rewarding that they just do not seem much like work.  One of those is an exciting new endeavor the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is taking on that will help spread some holiday cheer!  We were recently asked to help OK Foster Wishes and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) lead a gift drive that will ultimately deliver holiday presents to approximately 6,000 children in foster care. OK Foster Wishes has worked closely with DHS for years to assemble “wish lists” that foster kids and parents pass on to their caseworkers. OK Foster Wishes then matches those wish lists to Oklahomans who volunteer to buy a present on those lists, or to make a monetary donation that covers the costs. DHS then works to deliver those toys to the right children and families. This year, OICA is playing a lead role in raising toys and cash, and we are asking the public to help in one of two ways:
1.         Individuals interested in making a monetary contribution can donate online at okfosterwishes.org or by calling (405) 236-5437. Continue Reading →

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Leadership Change on Criminal Justice Committee Offers a Golden Opportunity to Build Consensus

Oklahoma – For years, bipartisan consensus has been brewing around the notion that Oklahoma locks up too many non-violent offenders. The cost of that over-incarceration has been borne by taxpayers, who are on the hook for the state’s prison costs, and families, whose homes are left broken when one parent (or both) winds up in prison for crimes often related to addiction or mental health problems.

More and more Oklahomans are now calling for criminal justice reform that emphasizes rehabilitation and treatment over lengthy prison sentences for non-violent offenders. Unfortunately, many of those reforms have hit a wall in the State Legislature. Oftentimes, that wall has been the chair of the Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee, Rep. Scott Biggs. More than a dozen potential laws were filed earlier this year that moved smoothly through the legislative process until Biggs exercised his authority as committee chair and refused to allow them to be heard.  Biggs’ actions essentially slammed the breaks on most of the state’s meaningful justice reform measures. Continue Reading →

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