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Support Legislation Requiring All Children To Wear Seatbelts

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Most of us have seen signs that say, “buckle up, it’s the law.” Given that seatbelts dramatically increase your chances of walking away from a car accident, it certainly should be the law. Unfortunately, if you are a 9-year-old riding in the back seat of a car in Oklahoma, it isn’t. In fact, Oklahoma is the only state in the country where a child ages 8 to 17 can legally ride without a seatbelt.  

This glaring omission in state policy is the subject of an interim study led by State Senator Carri Hicks. In 2017, 83 Oklahoma kids aged 8-17 were seriously injured or killed while unrestrained in car accidents. Experts estimate about half of those deaths or injuries could have been prevented if the children were buckled up. Continue Reading →

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Broken Arrow Public Schools takes proactive measures to reduce germs in schools

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New study shows the impact of the Clorox® Total 360® System on environmental cleanliness

BROKEN ARROW, Okla., Sept. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — A new study, released today by Broken Arrow Public Schools and CloroxPro, has shown the positive impact of daily disinfection in a school environment by using the Clorox® Total 360®System. After implementing the system daily throughout the 2018-19 school year, environmental swabbing of surfaces disinfected with the Clorox® Total 360® System showed a reduction in bacteria to near zero, including on hard-to-clean surfaces like door handles. Proper disinfection of high-touch surfaces is key to protecting against illness outbreaks that can result in a high level of absenteeism, interrupting student education. Bacteria and viruses that cause infectious illnesses, including colds and the flu, can survive on surfaces for days. Continue Reading →

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Count On It: Census Results Have Major Impact on State Budget and Services

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Every ten years, the United States Census Bureau takes a headcount of our national population. This census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and is used to determine everything from the number of congressional seats awarded to each state to the amount of federal dollars states get for roads and bridges, education, public health and other initiatives. The 2010 Census reported that the population of the U.S. grew to 309 million, an increase of about 10 percent from the 2000 Census. That number will continue to rise, although we will not know by how much until the results of the 2020 Census are released. Oklahoma is expected to top 4 million in this next count. 

Oklahoma experienced a severe undercount in 2010.  The Census Bureau reported that only 75 percent of households in Oklahoma responded by mail.  An in-person follow-up by Census workers helped to reach some people who do did not respond by mail, but many Oklahomans remained uncounted. Continue Reading →

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Senior care event seeks to improve awareness of options

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Approximately 80,000 Oklahomans are age 60 or older, and it can be scary to identify options if you or a loved one starts finding it difficult to live at home alone. Care Providers Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services are partnering for a one day event, “The Journey to Senior Care: A Community Awareness Event.”

Open to the public, this event will increase awareness about navigating the journey to senior care. Topics include eligibility criteria for ADvantage, the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services waiver program, as well as State Plan Personal Care and Long-Term Care options. Numerous community-based resources for the aging will also be shared with attendees. “It’s never too early to start planning what you or your family will do as you get older,” said Justin Brown, DHS director. “This event will not only help those who are looking to meet current needs, but also for those who seek more information about the options available to meet future needs related to aging.”

The event will be held Saturday, September 21, from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Oklahoma History Center located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City. Continue Reading →

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Two Studies that Impact Families: Child Nutrition and “Failure to Protect”

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Over the summer months, Oklahoma state lawmakers are dedicated to preparing for the upcoming legislative session. One way they do this is through the interim study process.  Each lawmaker can request an official hearing through a legislative committee to review a law or policy that impacts the state.  The hearings are scheduled through the committee chair most closely associated with the issue and time is dedicated to hearing presentations from speakers who are experts on the subject matter. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is pleased to have worked directly with lawmakers to request several different interim studies. We are awaiting a final confirmation from senate committee chairs on which studies will be heard, but we are confident that many will proceed. Two subject-areas where OICA is excited to have an active role in are child nutrition and laws that impact both adult and child victims of domestic violence. Continue Reading →

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Art Entries, Nominations Of Child Advocates Needed

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For those looking to help the cause of child wellbeing in Oklahoma, OICA has two important deadlines coming up this week that we need the public’s help and input on.  First, we will be concluding our art contest – Envisioning a Brighter Future for Oklahoma’s Children – a collaborative effort with the Oklahoma Department of Health.  We would like for young artists from across the state to enter this competition.  The top pieces of art will be displayed at Rainbow Fleet in Oklahoma City’s Paseo District on Friday, July 5th during the First Friday Art Walk, and we will print artwork on each of the 365 pages of OICA’s legislative calendar.  Please encourage children under 18 to enter this competition and to make their submissions this week. Artists can go to our website at OICA.org (https://tinyurl.com/kidsart2019) and download the entry form. Then mail the drawing and entry form to our offices (2915 N Classen Blvd, Ste 320, OKC OK 73106) by Friday, July 28th. 

We are also about to close nominations for the Anne Roberts People’s Choice Awards next week. This is our award given to an individual child advocacy leader or organization, as voted upon by the people of Oklahoma on social media.  We are currently receiving nominees and our board committee will select finalists by the end of next week.  If you know of someone or a group that deserves recognition, then please submit their information at http://oica.org/awards/anne-roberts-peoples-choice-award/ to ensure they are counted!  The award for each will be presented at the OICA Heroes Ball on Friday, July 26th with our other presentations.  Regarding State Capitol news, I am pleased to report that 145 interim study applications were submitted by members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives pertaining to children’s issues. We greatly appreciate those legislators who focused on these issues and who responded specifically to OICA requests. Continue Reading →

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OICA Continues Work With Youth Programs

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As we move past the legislative session and into the summer months, the team at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) has had the privilege of working with two successful youth programs: OK-LEAD and Hoops 4 Heroes.This most recent OK-LEAD program brought together tribal youth from across the state for one day to meet in conjunction with the Sovereignty Symposium, a forum which examines issues impacting the 39 sovereign nations located within our state boundaries. Students at OK-LEAD met to share stories and discuss issues ranging from tribal and state laws which impact the youth of the state, along with a history of treaties impacting tribal members. One issue that students were extremely engaged in was the importance of respecting tribal traditions when it comes to youth activities, including school graduations. For example, some schools ban the wearing of an eagle feather at graduation. We will be discussing that topic more at our Fall Forum in October, so stay tuned!OICA also helped orchestrate the pilot program for Hoops 4 Heroes, a national nonprofit that is working to start basketball camps for the children of incarcerated parents in NBA cities across the United States. Nineteen young athletes participated in the program, joining an existing camp associated with the Oklahoma City Thunder. They also attended special events just for them focused on teambuilding and empowerment. Continue Reading →

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OICA Taking Nominations for 2019 “People’s Choice” Award Winners

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Winners Will Be Announced at July 26 Heroes Ball

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is asking for nominations from the public for its 2019 “Anne Roberts People’s Choice Awards.” The awards honor an outstanding organization and individual working to improve children’s lives. The winners will be announced at the third annual OICA Heroes Ball on the evening of Friday, July 26th at the Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City. Nominations can be submitted online at: http://oica.org/awards/anne-roberts-peoples-choice-award/

Last year’s Anne Roberts People’s Choice Award winners were Cody Inman, Assistant to the Director at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, for his work and advocacy on behalf of foster children; and Peppers Ranch, for the services and treatment it offers to children who are abused or neglected. The awards are named after OICA’s longest-serving executive director. Other individuals and organizations, selected by the OICA board of directors, will be recognized at the Heroes Ball with a welcome from First Lady Sarah Stitt. 

The Heroes Ball is a semi-formal event, but attendees can also dress as their favorite superhero in honor of child advocates who have reached “hero status” for the work they do on behalf of children. Continue Reading →

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Child Advocacy Day Draws Oklahomans to State Capitol

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Last Wednesday was Child Advocacy Day at the State Capitol, and I’d like to thank everyone who came out in support of policies that benefit children. We were joined by more than 100 Oklahomans who participated in advocacy workshops before meeting with lawmakers to discuss child-focused legislation. During the event, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) held a luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion, where we were honored to be joined by First Lady Sarah Stitt, Secretary of Health Jerome Loughridge, and Secretary of Human Services Steven Buck. We greatly appreciate the Stitt administration and First Lady Stitt directly investing so much of their time and energy into children’s issues and, specifically, combatting child abuse. Luncheon attendees also heard from Rodney Timms, founder of All Truckers Together Against Child Abuse (ATTACA), who detailed his own abuse and how his faith has led him to a life devoted to helping at-risk children. Continue Reading →

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May 8: A Day at the Capitol for Oklahoma’s Children

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We are fast approaching Child Advocacy Day, held on Wednesday, May 8, at the Oklahoma State Capitol. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is pleased to be collaborating with the organization, Let’s Fix This, to once again hold a day for regular folks to sharpen their skillsets when it comes to effectively communicating with legislators and policy-makers. Advocacy Day will include seminars on successful legislative and media outreach as well as updates on child and family-focused bills that are making their way through the legislative process. We will also be meeting directly with lawmakers on several key pieces of legislation that impact our youngest residents. We encourage all Oklahomans who want to make a difference to register to attend via the “events” tab on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/OKChildAdv/) or through our website at OICA.gov.

In addition to our free advocacy day at the capitol, OICA will also host a Child Advocate’s Luncheon (attendees are required to make a donation).  This event will be held at the Phillips Pavilion on the Governor’s Mansion grounds next to the Oklahoma State Capitol.  We will kick off the luncheon at 11:30 AM with remarks from First Lady Sarah Stitt, Cabinet Secretaries Steven Buck and Jerome Loughridge, and Kid Governor Lucas Peterson.  Following that, our keynote speaker will be Rodney Timms, accomplished Oklahoma author, cofounder of Western Flyer Express, and the founder of All Truckers Together Against Child Abuse (ATTACA). Continue Reading →

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