Oklahoma

Recent Articles

OICA to Host “Weekly Child Advocacy Chat” April 1

OKChildren

First Teleconference Features Dr. Patrick McGough & Commerce Sec. Kouplen

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) will begin a series of online “Weekly Child Advocacy Chats” to provide critical information Oklahomans need in this unprecedented time. “The idea is to make sure Oklahomans have access to important news relating to the primary issues of the day that have an impact on the state’s children,” said Joe Dorman, OICA’s chief executive officer. “We intend to bring together healthcare professionals, key decision-makers, and subject matter experts to the chats, giving Oklahomans a chance to hear from them and ask questions. The first of the chats is slated for Wednesday, April 1, beginning at 11:45 a.m. This first chat will be a teleconference across the “Zoom” internet platform. Continue Reading →

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Families Have Internet “Lifeline” for Virtual Schooling

With this new way of life, all ages face significant challenges. Adults must work from home or seek unemployment assistance. Youth must do their coursework over the Internet and with computers and, for some, miss out on major life events like prom, graduation, or programs dear to them. As we adapt, please keep in mind this generation of young Americans is facing the most traumatic change in their short lives. We must have patience with them. Continue Reading →

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OICA Planning Series of Telephone Town Halls to Update Families on COVID-19, Census

To better keep you informed, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is planning a telephone town hall for April 1, with hopefully other calls to follow each week. The telephone town hall will allow Oklahomans to hear from health care professionals, government leaders, and other experts about COVID-19, the U.S. Census, and critical government services. Those on the call will have the ability to ask questions. If you would like to register for the calls, please go to oica.org and sign up. There will be a limited number of people who can be on the call due to financial realities, so sign up soon. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities Suspend Medically Unnecessary Visitation

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Following new guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Oklahoma’s skilled nursing facilities and long-term care facilities are expected to suspend all medically unnecessary visits indefinitely while the state works to contain the COVID-19 virus. As a memo released late last week by CMS says, their new guidance “directs nursing homes to significantly restrict visitors and nonessential personnel, as well as restrict communal activities inside nursing homes. The new measures are CMS’s latest action to protect America’s seniors, who are at highest risk for complications from COVID-19. While visitor restrictions may be difficult for residents and families, it is an important temporary measure for their protection.” Medically necessary visits include appointments with doctors or other medical practitioners as well as hospice service providers. Families wishing to visit loved ones are asked to communicate through letters, phone or teleconference technology like FaceTime, which many homes are working to facilitate. Steve Buck, president and chief executive officer of Care Providers Oklahoma, the trade association representing Oklahoma’s skilled nursing facilities, said the decision was made to save lives and protect the health of residents. “We take the threat of COVID-19 especially seriously, as our population of elderly Oklahomans is particularly vulnerable to this disease. Continue Reading →

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The World Changed Last Wednesday Night with Potentially Devastating Effects on OICA, Nonprofits

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In a matter of hours, the world in which we live changed last week, and that change started right here in Oklahoma. As the NBA’s Utah Jazz was preparing to play the Oklahoma City Thunder in Chesapeake Energy Arena, one of the Jazz players tested positive for the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Within hours of that diagnosis, every major sporting and mass-gathering event was cancelled or postponed. This shows we should take the warnings about COVID-19 seriously. It does not mean we should panic. Continue Reading →

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OICA Opposes Effort to Allow Suspension for Youngest Students; Calls for Counseling First

The Oklahoma Legislature is debating for school suspensions increases again this year. 

Oklahoma currently allows two suspension options for disruptive sixth grade students and older found guilty of assault and battery, for possessing alcohol or drugs on campus or at a school function, or for breaking local school policies. Those options are out-of-school suspensions and in-school suspensions. Schools are allowed to impose a maximum suspension for the current semester and entire next semester. A group has been pushing lawmakers to also allow in-school suspensions for elementary students who misbehave. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is instead offering a positive alternative to this “kick them out” mentality at all grade levels; ask the student what has caused them to act out before punishing them. Continue Reading →

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Responding to Census Critical for Oklahoma’s Children and Future

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As we move forward through the legislative session, OICA continues to do workshops, training sessions, and discussions about how to be effective advocates when dealing with policymakers. I had the pleasure of serving on a panel last week with Leadership Oklahoma to discuss the U.S. Census and implications with people not filling out their forms. As the Census Bureau proclaims, they want every counted, and counted only once. Oklahoma officials have been doing their part with limited resources to make this happen! You will begin to see information mailed to you in just a few short weeks about submitting your household information to ascertain an accurate count of our nation’s population.  This year, you will have the ability to fill out the form by the traditional method of mailing your information through the U.S. Postal Service, or by the new methods of submitting information on a secure link over the Internet or through a secure phone line. We are expecting and hoping to see a much-improved rate of return this year compared to previous years. Continue Reading →

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Child Advocacy Day at the Capitol Slated for May; Memberships Help Us Make a Difference for Children

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The pace at the Oklahoma Legislature has been moving quickly with the committees doing their work, along with some legislation being heard on the floor. As the 2020 session of the Oklahoma Legislature continues, you may rest assured that the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy will maintain its effort to monitor the bills being considered. We will aggressively support those which make Oklahoma an even better state for its children, and work with lawmakers to change or stop those we believe will take the state in the wrong direction for its children. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has been issuing Action Alerts about child-related bills on our legislative agenda, the legislation both supported and opposed by OICA. If you are interested in receiving these updates, please go to oica.org to sign up to receive these alerts. Continue Reading →

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Mayors Back OICA on ACEs; Healthcare on Lawmakers’ Agendas

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Now that the 2020 session of the Oklahoma Legislature is underway, we have a better idea of measures we as child advocates must support and those about which we must be cautious. Normally there are 149 lawmakers, 101 state representatives and 48 state senators. There are currently two vacancies, one in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate. The 147 left were busy, filing 2,243 new bills for this year. Combined with the those still alive from last year, lawmakers have more than 4,500 bills bouncing around the State Capitol that could be considered. Continue Reading →

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Legislative Session Begins; OICA Begins Examining Proposals

Gov. Kevin Stitt delivered his second “State of the State” to the Oklahoma Legislature Monday on the first day of the Second Session of the 57th Oklahoma Legislature.  The bicameral legislative branch meets from the first Monday in February until they must constitutionally conclude business on or before 5 p.m. the final Friday in May. Along with the speech, the various newly-submitted bills offered by the lawmakers were considered “first read” on the opening day, another constitutional mandate.  The Oklahoma Constitution requires bills be read at least three times on three separate days in each house before it could be sent to the governor for consideration. This provision prevents lawmakers from rushing through a proposal any faster than five calendar days, a safeguard protecting citizens and allowing the press to monitor every bill. Having said that, in 25 years of working in and around the State Capitol, I only remember bills passing in the constitutional minimum five days only a few times, and those were in special sessions called specifically to deal with one issue. OICA has not taken an official position on most of Governor Stitt’s proposals, but I want to share with you some of what was discussed.  The governor asked lawmakers to set aside $100 million of current funds for the state savings account, the so-called “Rainy Day” fund.  The governor said the state’s greatest challenge is dealing with reducing bureaucracy and securing the fiscal stability of the state. Continue Reading →

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