Recent Articles

OICA Accepting Nominations for Laura Choate Resilience Award

Oklahoma-The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is now accepting nominations online for the Laura Choate Resilience Award. The award was created to celebrate individuals who have overcome significant childhood adversity to make a lasting contribution to the lives of young people. Nominees have exhibited bravery and demonstrated a dedication to fostering resilience in Oklahoma children. The public can submit nominations through OICA.org until September 29 at 5 PM. This award is named for Laura Choate, who served as a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit that helped to uncover and reform widespread abuse and neglect within the state’s  juvenile justice system. Continue Reading →

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Friday, Sept. 22: Route 66 Coalition to Kick-Off Accountable Health Community

Oklahoma-Earlier this year the federal government selected the Route 66 Coalition, led by MyHealth Access Network, the Tulsa Health Department and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department to be the recipient of a $4.5 million grant to create an Accountable Health Community (AHC). The goal of the AHC is for social needs, not just medical needs, to be addressed in order to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs. Through the Route 66 AHC, over 75,000 Oklahomans will be screened for social needs in five key areas: housing insecurity, food insecurity, utility assistance, interpersonal violence and transportation. Individuals and families in need will be connected to social service agencies through a coordinated navigation service based in each community’s health department. MyHealth Access Network is excited to announce the Oklahoma City AHC Kick-off event will take place next Friday, Sept. 22 at 1 PM. Continue Reading →

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State Government is Failing to Help the Needy

Oklahoma-If you have driven the H.E. Bailey Turnpike south from Oklahoma City, you have most likely seen a billboard that reads, “Government takes from the Needy and gives to the Greedy,” a statement that is famously attributed to President Ronald Reagan. The quote is from a speech that Reagan gave before Congress, where he basically discusses how government programs often do not actually serve those truly in need. He believed far too many people abuse the system, benefiting from services they do not need or should be providing for themselves. To this day, we regularly hear this concern from many politicians who argue for cutting spending, citing “waste, fraud and abuse” within government.  While I believe the overwhelming majority of taxpayer dollars are used to support essential and necessary programs, sometimes these fiscal hawks are right. That’s why OICA was proud to support legislation this past session to improve the use of audits for agencies, helping to verify that dollars are truly going to benefit who Ronald Reagan described as “the needy,” rather than being wasted or misappropriated to “the greedy.”

With that being said, we are now facing an entirely different dilemma when it comes to state government: a massive revenue shortfall that is starving state agencies and eroding the quality of our government services. Continue Reading →

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Local Businesswoman Stacy Pursell Is Finalist for Pet Industry Woman of the Year Award

TULSA, Ok- Local businesswoman Stacy Pursell, CEO and President of The VET Recruiter® in Tulsa, OK has been named a finalist in the fifth annual Pet Industry Woman of the Year Award competition. Pursell, who has been in business for 20 years, was nominated in the Corporation category. The other award categories are Solopreneur, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Rising Star. The overall Pet Industry Woman of the Year will be chosen from the winners of these five categories. Winners will be announced Sept. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma Nursing Homes: Save Our Residents from Cuts and Closures

Lawmakers must “keep promise” to protect vulnerable seniors

Oklahoma-With the Supreme Court having struck down a cigarette fee designed to shore up Oklahoma’s underfunded Medicaid program, nursing homes and their residents are now bracing for budget cuts and closures. Early reports indicate that, without the over $200 million in state revenue generated from the fee, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority will be forced to cut the Medicaid reimbursement rate to health care providers. Nico Gomez, the President and CEO of the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, estimates that a funding reduction could put many Oklahoma nursing homes out of business. For Travis Belk, a 90-year-old Medicaid recipient who lives in The Gardens skilled nursing facility in Sapulpa, the funding crisis is hitting close to home. “Our lawmakers told us they created a budget that protects Medicaid and keeps homes like this one open,” said Belk. Continue Reading →

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A Crisis Moment for the State Budget


Oklahoma-This week the Oklahoma Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether several revenue raising measures, including a cigarette fee, will be deemed constitutional or not.  If the court upholds the constitutionality of these measures, state agencies will regain some semblance of stability through the remainder of the fiscal year (although most are still struggling from years of cuts and under-funding). If the court instead strikes down these measures, agencies could see debilitating double digit reductions to their budgets. Needless to say, should the latter happen, major services will be reduced or eliminated, especially preventative measures helping families and individual Oklahomans better their lives. Even the best-case scenarios would see many programs benefiting Oklahoma’s children suffer greatly. That we find ourselves in this situation is unacceptable. Continue Reading →

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Protecting Children from School Bullying

Oklahoma-It is almost time for more than 700,000 children in Oklahoma to return to school!  With the return of the school year, anxiety can run high, sometimes leading to some traumatic issues.  One of the most stressful situations children face is how to deal with bullying. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some good suggestions on how to deal with bullying issues. Bullying, or the modern form of cyberbullying, is when one child or more picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school or on a school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet, or on computers and smart phones. Continue Reading →

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Students Complete Cristo Rey “Success Training”

Oklahoma-Over 20 students participated last week in Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School’s Summer Success Training program, a 3-day course designed to help rising high school freshman develop skills useful at school, work, college and in their personal lives. Although the school does not officially open until Fall of 2018, Cristo Rey OKC officials said they wanted to offer something this summer to students and families who had shown interest in the school. For two days, students were joined by community and business leaders who served as guest lecturers on topics like appropriate use of social media, goal, setting, good study and work skills, and taking initiative. Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores VP of Human Resources Carl Martincich led a discussion on the importance of first impressions and a strong work ethic. Oklahoma State University officials delivered a presentation on the importance of continuing education beyond high school, while Governor Mary Fallin’s former communications director talked about developing speaking and writing skills. Students also participated in a workshop on financial literacy, practicing balancing a budget and eliminating unnecessary expenses. Continue Reading →

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For the Children:    Honoring the Real Superheroes

Oklahoma-As we prepare for our upcoming banquet, it is my privilege to recognize the folks who the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) will honor the evening of August 10th at our Heroes Ball!  We announced the winners just this past weekend, but I would like to go into further details about why each one of these individuals and organizations are “heroes” for Oklahoma kids. Our first honorees, receiving the SONIC Commitment Award, are Pastor Craig Groeschel and his wife Amy Groeschel of Life.Church. Craig and Amy are being recognized for their work to encourage Oklahomans to become foster or adoptive parents. Largely because of their efforts and the strong message they sent to their congregation, Oklahoma met its goal of recruiting more than 1,000 foster families last year. Our next honorees will receive the Steven A. Novick Award for Dedication.  If you have not heard of him, Steven was the attorney who won a landmark lawsuit which uncovered significant shortcomings within Oklahoma’s child welfare system, ultimately leading to major reforms and the creation of OICA.  The recipients this year are the television stations KFOR, KTUL and KSWO, each one of which devoted significant air time to the AdoptOkKids program that helps children in foster care find adoptive families. Continue Reading →

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OICA Announces Award Winners to be Recognized at Aug. 10 Heroes Ball  

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s (OICA) has announced the winners of three awards that will be presented at the OICA Heroes Ball on August 10 at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City. Each award winner was chosen by the OICA Board of Directors for their outstanding contribution to children’s well-being in Oklahoma. The winners of the Kate Barnard Perseverance Award are Jasmine and Melvin Moran, the creators of the Jasmine Moran Childen’s Museum in Seminole, Oklahoma. Their museum has inspired and educated countless children since its opening in 1993. The award is named after Oklahoma’s first female elected official, who worked to end child labor and the mistreatment of Native children. Continue Reading →

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