Recent Articles

OICA Names Six “Children’s Legislators of the Year”

OKLAHOMA CITY – Last week, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) released its legislative scorecard for the 1st Session of the 58th Oklahoma Legislature. The scorecard detailed lawmakers’ records on children’s issues. From that nonpartisan evaluation of the voting records of all 101 state representatives and 48 state senators, six lawmakers were named “Children’s Legislators of the Year.”

“Our ‘Children’s Legislators of the Year’ awards honor those state representatives and senators who have gone above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of Oklahoma’s children,” said Joe Dorman, OICA’s CEO. “These are special lawmakers who put Oklahoma’s children first, and we are honored to announce them.”

The “Children’s Legislators of the Year” awards in the Oklahoma Senate go to Sen. Kim David, Senate majority leader and a Republican from Porter; Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City; and Sen. Roger Thompson, Senate Appropriations Committee chair, R-Okemah. Members of the House of Representatives earning “Children’s Legislators of the Year” awards are Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay; Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman; and Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston, the House’s Appropriations & Budget Committee chair. Continue Reading →

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Local Tourism Group Promoting Independence Day Celebrations near Broken Bow

Broken Bow, OK— Local folks and Tourists of all ages will find many ways to enjoy festive fun this Fourth of July as a regional tourism company has compiled a list of free and festive events happening in the area this holiday. “Things To Do In Hochatown” offers a web page and social media outlets that provide the public with resources, information, updates and announcements for McCurtain County and surrounding areas. (ThingstodoinHochatown.com)

Upcoming Independence Day Events include:

July 1st: Choctaw Casino, Broken Bow, OK

July 2nd: Idabel Bell High School, Idabel, OK

July 3rd: Field of Dreams Fundraiser, @ Samaritan Fields in De Queen, AR. 5:00PM

Live DJ, Obstacle Course, Food, FIFA Tournament and More. All Proceeds go to Samaritan Fields

Jul 4th: Wright City Rodeo, Wright City, OK, Rodeo Grounds Road, 74766

 Bareback Horses, Ranch Broncs, Kid Events, Barrels, Calf Rope, Team Rope, Bulls then Fireworks. Continue Reading →

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OICA Plans Heroes Ball for July

Nominations Open for Anne Roberts People’s Choice Child Advocacy Awards

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s annual Heroes Ball – celebrating the Oklahoma’s heroes for children – will be held across two venues and virtually on the Zoom platform. The Oklahoma City venue for the evening will The Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. The Tulsa venue will be in the Greenwood area as this year’s Heroes Ball will pay tribute to those lost and forever changed by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The two venues will both have speakers and will simulcast between each other as well as webcast to those who attend remotely across the Zoom platform. The 2020 Heroes Ball was conducted at the height of the pandemic and was fully virtual as it was webcast across the Zoom platform. Continue Reading →

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Lessons in the Legislative Process Build Better Leaders

With the end of the legislative session, the work for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy now transitions to more of an educational component. From the early part of the year through the end of May, our work primarily is dedicated to not only educating lawmakers about policy and the impact of potential laws, but also to reach out to Oklahomans of all backgrounds across the state to encourage them to reach out to policymakers. These calls help share the desires of constituents in legislative districts to help influence the direction of bills being considered and voted upon. We are at this point collecting ideas for suggestions on interim studies and compiling the results of the legislative session to share with advocates across the state. If you have a civic organization in your community that would like to hear from the staff or board members with OICA, we spend much of the middle and latter part of the year working with local leaders to help encourage advocacy and outreach. Continue Reading →

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Federal Funding Will Assist Oklahoma’s Youth Over Summer Months


Last week, the final gavel fell ending the 2021 session of the Oklahoma Legislature. Lawmakers have returned to their districts, which means now is the time to reconnect with them about issues important to you. Maintaining relationships with local lawmakers helps ensure that issues that still must be addressed stays top of mind for them. If you have ideas for how state government children, submit an interim study suggestion. OICA is collecting proposals from Oklahomans and will present them to lawmakers. Go to https://oica.org/interim-study-suggestions/ to submit your idea. Continue Reading →

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School Choice Advocates Thank Lawmakers for Support of Equal Opportunity Scholarship Growth

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Advocates for school choice and education reform today thanked Oklahoma legislators for passing Senate Bill 1080, a bill which raises the tax credit cap for the Equal Opportunity Scholarship program from $5 million to $50 million. Equal Opportunity Scholarships help children in low and modest-income households attend private schools. Two-thirds of Opportunity Scholarships go to students with incomes at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. The average income of a scholarship recipient is $45,000 for a family of four. Over 2,500 students receive scholarship dollars each year. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma Nursing Homes to Receive Emergency Funding to Offset COVID Mitigation Expenses

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OKLAHOMA CITY—Care Providers Oklahoma today thanked Governor Kevin Stitt, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for delivering over $68 million in emergency COVID-relief funding for nursing homes and facilities that care for people with disabilities. Additionally, Care Providers Oklahoma acknowledged the work of Sen. Greg McCortney and Rep. Marcus McEntire for their efforts to assist nursing homes and nursing home residents.OHCA submitted a state plan amendment (SPA) to CMS requesting approval to redirect federal funds towards “Medicaid Disaster Relief for the COVID-19 National Emergency” on March 26 2021. On May 12, CMS approved that request, allowing OHCA to redirect federal dollars, including:

Approximately $48 million for nursing facilities and $3 million for intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICFs/IID) to support pay for direct care staff and other personnel. Many facilities have faced skyrocketing payroll costs after awarding “hero pay” incentives to staff during the COVID pandemic.Approximately $8 million for nursing facilities and $500,000 for ICFs/IIDS for continuation of infection control and prevention programs and the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE).Approximately $8 million for nursing facilities and $500,000 for ICFs/IIDS for enhanced social and mental health programming and activities to ensure the health and wellness of Medicaid beneficiaries. Care Providers Oklahoma President and CEO Steven Buck said the funding offered a lifeline to the skilled nursing profession during one of the most challenging periods it has ever faced.“Since the coronavirus came to Oklahoma, our residents, our staff and our facilities have been engaged in a joint effort to beat it back,” said Buck. Continue Reading →

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Fighting Childhood Obesity is “Work Worth Doing”

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” -Theodore Roosevelt

I saw this post on a friend’s social media page. As Teddy is my favorite President, I was surprised that I had not seen this quote before. If you have read about him, this certainly describes his attitude and how he lived his life. Equally in the spirit of this quote are the people who also want to see better, even if on different paths. That is what makes policy work an unusual beast; almost all want to see better results and opportunities for the people served, but various philosophies, party registrations, backgrounds, and viewpoints create different daily dynamics. Continue Reading →

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Child Advocacy Group Praises Passage of Tribal Affiliation Bill, Thanks Sponsors

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) said the enactment of a bill to add tribal affiliation to school data collection was a positive step for Oklahoma’s children. “This bill will help collect vital data on our students that will help schools do a better job for Native American students,” said Joe Dorman, chief executive officer of the group. “We are extremely grateful to Rep. Mark Vancuren and Sen. John Michael Montgomery for their hard work in seeing this bill become law.”

Vancuren, a Republican from Owasso, is a 30-year-educator and coach. Montgomery is a Republican from Lawton. Dorman said the bill was important because schools educating Native American students qualify for a variety of programs that can attract federal dollars that will improve education for the students. Continue Reading →

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Lawmakers Consider Ideas to Improve Children’s Lives

This week, I want to write about some of the great ideas for children being considered by Oklahoma’s representatives and senators. The job of a lawmaker is often tough; fortunately, there are many advocates and activists who are experts in their respective fields who provide input and ideas. It is the job of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) to offer data-driven suggestions on policy to help lawmakers make good decisions on the best path for state government to help children. OICA is watching 200 bills with potential impacts on children still alive for the 2021 session. Senate Bill 339 by Sens. Continue Reading →

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