There are almost 8000 children in Oklahoma’s foster care system. Most of those are kids under 12 years old, and many of them also have brothers and sisters in the system. Needless to say, it is important for the state to recruit and retain foster parents so that all these children have loving and safe homes.Foster parents are performing one of the most important, selfless acts that we can ask of our fellow Oklahomans. If you are a foster parent and are reading this, thank you for your service and the compassion you are demonstrating. If you are a foster parent, you also know that opening your home to a foster child can create serious strains on your family budget. Continue Reading →
One of the pleasures of getting to work with the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is meeting people who are so inspired to help young Oklahomans that they dedicate a significant portion of their time, money and livelihood to this great cause. Last week, I highlighted great work being done by adults on behalf of children. This week, I am pleased to dedicate this column space to honoring Oklahomans under the age of eighteen who have done remarkable work to help their peers: other youth. These young Oklahomans have been honored with OICA’s Melvin and Jasmine Moran Kidizenship Award, presented annually to children under 18 who have elevated a service-oriented program to new heights. The recognition includes a trophy and a donation to them or their program. Continue Reading →
If you did not make it to the 2019 Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) Fall Forum last week, then you missed quite an event! We had more than 150 advocates from across the state assembled to participate in workshops, discuss potential new legislation with state lawmakers in attendance, and share ideas for improving conditions for the youth of Oklahoma. I have many people to thank for the tremendous work that was completed during the three-day event, and that starts with the OICA staff who made the conference happen. Our conference director was unable to attend due to an illness with a family member, and I would ask that you keep her family in your thoughts and prayers as they undergo medical treatments. The rest of the staff and our intern stepped up their game and saw everything through to completion, for which I am immensely grateful. Continue Reading →
We are less than a week from the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s (OICA) annual Fall Forum. This conference gathers the best and brightest minds engaged in child wellbeing to discuss public policy and find solutions to problems facing the youth of our state. The event will be held on October 1-2, with an optional day on October 3 to teach advocates about the interim study process and to explore how the Oklahoma nonprofit world can assist with ensuring an accurate count in the 2020 Census. The interim study conversation will be presided over by State Sen. Paul Scott and State Rep. Mark Lawson, whose leadership at this forum we greatly appreciate.
I am often asked how people can get more involved in making a difference to their community. They can start by coming to this conference!I am pleased that we will have several lawmakers attending our conference to help guide delegates as we shape policy for the 2020 legislative session. Our six agenda-item breakout sessions will be:1. Criminal Justice Reform, chaired by Reps. Chris Kannady and Collin Walke;2. Continue Reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →