Oklahoma

Recent Articles

Children of Military Families Need Additional Support

Veterans Day is a wonderful and necessary holiday and a great time to give thanks to those that serve our nation. However, as we move on from this day, it is important to keep the needs of our veterans and active military personnel – as well as their families and children – on our minds all year. According to the US Census, there are 21,369,602 veterans in the United States, with 312,492 veterans currently living in Oklahoma.  That does not include the 1.3 million military personnel and more than 800,000 reserve forces serving nationwide, or the roughly 20,000 service members now living in Oklahoma. In the modern military, families experience increased stress from multiple deployments and longer tours of duty. Since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001, the United States has seen the largest sustained deployment of military servicemen and servicewomen in the history of the all-volunteer force. Continue Reading →

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Friday (11/2): OK Foster Wishes Kickoff Party

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) will be kicking off its annual holiday gift drive for children in foster care tomorrow (Friday, November 2) from 5-7 PM at the Oklahoma’s Credit Union building at 3001 N. Lincoln Blvd in Oklahoma City. OK Foster Wishes is a collaboration between OICA, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, and several other non-profits that provide transportation, storage and monetary support. Each year, OK Foster Wishes matches gift “wish lists” from children in foster care with adult donors who purchase the gifts for specific children. Attendees at tomorrow’s party will receive a wish list or, alternatively, can make a cash donation or bring a gift (gifts not paired with wish lists will be distributed to children and families who did not submit a list). OK Foster Wishes Kickoff Party Details

Friday, November 2
5 – 7 PM
Oklahoma Credit Union: 3001 N. Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Continue Reading →

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Shining a Light on Children’s Issues Ahead of Election Day

Just one week to go before Election Day!  I am sure most Oklahomans are ready for this campaign cycle to end and see what the future holds for Oklahoma. As a 501c3 non-profit organization, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is prohibited from endorsing any candidate or party. Although I am from a political background myself, I have come to greatly appreciate our non-partisan role, as I believe it makes our organization a more effective force for improving the lives of children. No matter which party is in power, or who is running for office, OICA is able to shine a light on the issues that matter most to children. One way we have impacted the 2018 elections is through our candidate surveys, which you can find at OICA.org. Continue Reading →

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Grandparents Play a Key Role in Raising Children

For many youngsters, grandparents play a significant role in raising us and molding us into the people we become.  I often think about my extended family and how lucky I was to have so many people in my life who cared about me and helped me grow and develop.  Many Oklahoma children, unfortunately, are not as fortunate as I was; they do not have an older generation of family members in their lives who can teach and assist them in their formative years. While it is a well-documented fact that many children are lacking positive adult role models, the state is inadvertently exacerbating that situation, especially when it comes to grandparents. In the U.S. Supreme Court case of Troxel v. Granville, the Supreme Court discussed parents’ fundamental rights to raise and rear their own children. It should be noted though, the Troxel case refused to strike down a Washington state law granting substantial grandparent visitation. Due to this, the Troxel case left states with varying degrees of grandparent visitation throughout the nation. Continue Reading →

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Raising Awareness by Honoring Champions for Children

When I took the helm at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA), the board of directors made it clear the mission of our organization needed to move back to our roots. Our mission is “creating awareness, taking action, and supporting policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”

Part of raising awareness about children’s issues is recognizing the good work that is already being done in our community. That recognition not only assigns credit where credit is due, but also encourages others to do good work as well. OICA’s way of encouraging that recognition is through our two premiere awards: the Laura Choate Resilience Award and the Moran Kidizenship Awards. OICA is now accepting nominations for both, through September 14th, and we hope the public will nominate many deserving recipients (nominees can be submitted at OICA.org). Continue Reading →

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Free School Lunch Programs Deserve Our Support

In an August 11 editorial, the Oklahoman newspaper argued for greater accountability for some parents who accept free school lunches for their children. “A policy that tells parents they’re free to freeload comes with predictable costs to all taxpayers,” the paper writes. The authors point to a story by Chalkbeat Colorado showing that costs increased for a Denver Public School district after schools adopted a policy to provide hot meals to all students (including those whose parents have an income high enough not to qualify for free or reduced cost lunches). After the policy change, schools expenses for unreimbursed meals ballooned from $13,000 to $356,000. The Denver policy may be an example of a well-intentioned but poorly thought-out plan. Continue Reading →

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History Proves Children Can Change the World

As we at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) work to help reform and improve public policy, one of the most frustrating things we hear is the mistaken assumption that children cannot or should not try to change the world. Young people, some say, should “wait their turn” to speak out on social issues or take on a community leadership role. While I agree that life experience is important, I would contend that passion, a willingness to learn, the and the ability to think with an open mind are equally as important. Often, these qualities are easier to find in children than adults, who can be closed-minded or unwilling to consider new information. I would also argue that some young people, even in their few years on this Earth, have had tremendous experiences that make them the most effective champions we need for positive change. Continue Reading →

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Remember the Children in Upcoming Elections

A historic number of Oklahomans voted in the 2018 Oklahoma primary elections. Regardless of your party affiliation or political beliefs, it was great to see an active and engaged citizenry getting out and voting. For the majority of elected positions, the primary elections determined who each party’s nominee will be for the November 6 general election. In races where candidates did not break the 50 percent threshold, however, there will now be a run-off election between the two top vote-getters on August 28, just a few weeks away. At that time we will see seven runoffs for the statewide ballot on the Republican ticket, a runoff for the Gubernatorial election for the Libertarian Party, a race for the Democratic ticket with Oklahoma Corporation Commission, state and federal legislative races and many county positions. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma: State Question 793 Meets National Resistance Among Vision Health Professionals

Walmart Backed Constitutional Amendment Would Allow Big Box Stores to Control How Eye Doctors Practice Medicine and Treat their Patients

Optometric physicians across the country are working to oppose State Question 793, a Walmart-backed proposal to put optometry clinics in big box stores. In addition to the Armed Forces Optometric Society, a national organization representing optometric physicians in the military, associations of optometrists in Alaska, California, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia are all working to oppose the initiative, which will appear on the November ballot in Oklahoma. Vision Source, a national network of optometric physicians, and IDOC, an optometric alliance with over 3000 members, are also opposing SQ 793. Eye doctors are alarmed and united in opposition to the language in SQ 793 that states the measure “does not prohibit optometrists or opticians from agreeing with retail mercantile establishments to limit their practice.” That language allows Walmart and other corporate giants to define the services their optometrists can offer, limiting the kind of full service eye-exam optometric physicians regularly perform and replacing it with a faster and more profitable check-up designed to sell glasses. Dr. Brendhan Fritts of Duncan said that allowing Walmart to limit scope of practice would directly harm patients, especially those with degenerative diseases or serious conditions that might go ignored in the kind of simple vision screenings big box stores want to provide. Continue Reading →

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Eye Doctors: Back to School Checklist Should Include Comprehensive Eye Exam

The Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians (OAOP) is encouraging parents to schedule comprehensive eye exams for their children as they prepare for the start of the school year, as one-in-four children has an undiagnosed vision problem. Untreated vision problems often lead to seemingly mysterious conditions like frequent headaches and are linked to everything from behavioral problems to poor performance in class. While many parents assume that a simple vision screening at school or in a pediatrician’s office can identify most vision problems, that is not the case. Most vision screenings test for basic distance visual acuity (ie “does a child have 20/20 vision?”) without also testing the wide variety of vision conditions and problems that affect learning and school-work. Approximately 40 percent of all children with learning disabilities have vison problems. Eye doctors are using the back-to-school season to remind parents that comprehensive vision exams are the best way to identify and correct these issues. Continue Reading →

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