Recent Articles

Getting Older, Seeing Needs, Working to Meet the Challenge

Part of life is growing older, and I have the distinct pleasure of hitting the half-century mark this week. If you would have asked me in my younger days if I would have lived the life that I have, I doubt that I could have imagined where I would be. With the challenges I faced and experiences that helped shape me, I am grateful to have had an opportunity to help make Oklahoma be a better place to live. “Making things better” should be a goal for all of us – it is the rent we pay to be alive. My latest endeavor is to lead the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA). Continue Reading →

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OICA Continues “Kid Governor,” Calendar Art Programs


One of the most fulfilling parts of our job at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is to engage with our state’s young people and allow them to display their talents.  The “Kid Governor” program certainly provides that opportunity. Oklahoma has, over the past two years, has had Luke Peterson serve as Oklahoma’s Kid Governor, a powerful advocate for helping to raise awareness of children’s issues across the state. Luke was such a strong voice that he was selected to be the first two-term Kid Governor by OICA and Sunbeam Family Services. It is time for him to “pass the torch” to the next Kid Governor, and we at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy are honored to coordinate that process. For the past several years, we have partnered with Sunbeam Family Services for this program that they created, but they have passed that torch to us to lead the selection effort going forward. Continue Reading →

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The Difference Between “Partisan” and “Political”

OICA Works After Elections to Help Leaders Make Good Political Decisions

Now that the party nominees are set for the General Election in November, I wanted to write about the difference between what is “partisan” versus “political.”

As the calendar creeps toward November 3, all of us will be bombarded with rhetoric from politicians seeking our votes. We must be able to decipher what is in our best interest and how you prioritize who should receive your vote. First, let me set the stage. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is a 501(c)(3) organizations, and we are restricted by the Internal Revenue Service. OICA, like all 501(c)(3) organizations, are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Continue Reading →

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Don’t Forget to Vote in the Primary Runoff Tuesday


Oklahoma Has Strong System of Voting Convenience and Security

For those of you who are registered voters, please do not forget that Tuesday, August 25, is the Primary Runoff Election Day. In total, 50 of our 77 counties will have polls open for voters for at least one race. In 18 Oklahoma counties, there will be a federal or state runoff on the ballot. If you have a question regarding if you have a race in which to vote this election, you can go to to check and to get other information about elections. On OICA’s website at, we have published candidate surveys returned by individuals seeking your votes across the state. Continue Reading →

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Louisiana Expands Monitored In-Home Caregiving Program (MIHC) to Support Families Caring for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Caregiver Homes from Seniorlink, the leading provider of MIHC services in Louisiana, will extend its program to align with these new state provisions to ensure that even more caregivers receive support from experienced care teams – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. BATON ROUGE, La.: The state of Louisiana is expanding its Monitored In-Home Caregiving program (MIHC) to support the rising number of families who are caring for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the leading MIHC provider, Caregiver Homes of Louisiana, a subsidiary of Seniorlink Inc., will also extend its services to provide coaching and support to informal and family caregivers of eligible individuals. Under the expanded MIHC program, caregivers of children age 3+ and adults who are diagnosed with intellectual or developmental disabilities can receive coaching from a Caregiver Homes Care Team, made up of a nurse and a care manager. To qualify, individuals must be Medicaid-eligible and enrolled in either the state’s New Opportunities Waiver (NOW) or Residential Options Waiver (ROW) program. 

Caregiver Homes, which has also been a licensed statewide provider for MIHC services under the Community Choices Waiver (CCW) since 2015, uses its HIPAA-secure care collaboration app, Vela, to connect caregivers with experienced care teams who offer clinical support to address the myriad challenges of caregiving. Continue Reading →

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Child Advocacy Group Announces People’s Choice Awards

Awards Part of Group’s First-of-its-Kind “Virtual Ball”

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) recently conducted its annual awards and fundraising ball, despite the limitations caused by COVID-19. OICA holds the annual Heroes Ball each summer to recognize those Oklahomans who have worked to improve the quality of life for the state’s youngest residents and to raise money for OICA’s ongoing mission of child advocacy. This year’s Heroes Ball was unique in that it was the first attempt by a nonprofit organization in the nation to conduct a virtual event of this size with meal delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, according to OICA CEO Joe Dorman, exceeded all expectations; other nonprofits who are struggling to find ways to maintain operations in the new COVID-19 normal are considering the model as a means to continue their annual events.             “Our sponsors, donors, ticket purchasers, staff, and volunteers stepped up,” Dorman said. Continue Reading →

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Maintaining Civility Important in Difficult Times

Conversations About Tough Topics Vital for Children

On Monday (Aug. 10), the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy held our weekly Child Advocacy Chat. This weekly teleconference on the Zoom platform allows leaders from various nonprofit and state organizations involved in youth issues to learn from each other. This week, several faith-based leaders joined the call to discuss how the pandemic has impacted their services, the actions of their houses of worship, and how it has affected children who participate. As I planned the discussion, I thought about the old adage about the taboo things which should not be discussed at the dinner table: “religion, politics, and sex.” With our modern times, it feels like that last topic has been replaced by another “s” word: science. Continue Reading →

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COVID-19 Hit As Record Number of Louisiana ALICE Families Were Priced Out of Survival


More than half of Louisiana families were already struggling to meet survival needs due to rising costs and stagnant wages when the pandemic began

BATON ROUGE, La.: When COVID-19 hit, more than 576,000 Louisiana households were already one emergency away from financial ruin, a 10-year record high, setting the stage for the economic impact of the crisis — according to the state’s latest ALICE Report, released Aug. 6, 2020, by the Louisiana Association of United Ways, in partnership with United Ways throughout Louisiana and United For ALICE. 

“Before the pandemic, more than one in three Louisiana hard-working households were financially vulnerable — one emergency is all that stood between them and spiraling into a financial crisis,” said Sarah Berthelot, Louisiana Association of United Ways President and CEO. “For many, COVID-19 became that one universal emergency. Without the ability to save or build assets, the job interruptions and income losses have pressed hard against ALICE over the past six months. These Louisiana workers have faced the fears of contracting COVID-19 without adequate healthcare coverage or paid sick leave with very limited or no options to perform work duties virtually. Continue Reading →

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Delegation Announces HUD Funding for Arkansas COVID-19 Assistance Efforts

Washington, DC: .U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack, and Bruce Westerman—announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded Arkansas Public Housing Agencies $3,458,460 in funding to support the prevention, preparation, and response to the coronavirus pandemic in public housing. “As Arkansas continues to combat the impacts of COVID-19, it is important to put resources in the hands of our communities. These investments will provide locally-driven assistance to help protect and assist families and individuals in need throughout the Natural State,” members said. This latest round of HUD funding is part of a nationwide disbursement in public housing operating funds allocated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which became law with the support of the Arkansas delegation. HUD awarded funding to the following Arkansas Public Housing Agencies:

Third District 

Crawford County Public Facilities Board$51,443Fayetteville Housing Authority$87,838Fort Smith Housing Authority$248,634Harrison Housing Authority$70,877Northwest Regional Housing Authority$86,642Pope County Public Facilities Board$23,577Russellville Housing Authority$20,923Siloam Springs Housing Authority$58,200Springdale Housing Authority$17,968

Other State Allocations

Arkadelphia Housing Authority$17,683Ashley County Housing Authority$26,819Benton Housing Authority$96,334Brinkley Housing Authority$885Cabot Public Housing Agency$49,090Camden Housing Authority$48,921Clarendon Housing Authority$2,800Clay County Public Housing Agency$18,123Conway County Housing Authority$32,564Conway Housing Authority$57,129Desha County Residential Housing Board$19,893DeValls Bluff Housing Authority$5,157Drew County Public Facilities Board$37,428Earle Housing Authority$7,830Franklin County Public Housing Agency$11,244Hope Housing Authority$16,208Hot Springs Housing Authority$141,014Jacksonville Housing Authority$57,466Johnson County Housing Authority$21,808Jonesboro Housing Authority$196,483Lake Village Housing Authority$14,587Lawrence County Public Housing Agency$46,563Lee County Housing Authority$33,449Logan County Housing Authority$13,557Lonoke County Housing Authority$36,357Little River County Housing Authority$6,204Little Rock Housing Authority$449,032McGehee Public Facilities Board$27,113Mississippi County Public Facilities Board$61,150North Little Rock Housing Authority$242,053Paragould Housing Authority$71,761Phillips County Public Housing Authority$47,006Pike County Housing Authority$7,369Pine Bluff Housing Authority$136,140Pocahontas Public Housing Agency$12,378Poinsett County Housing Agency$16,893Polk County Housing Authority$7,957Prescott Housing Authority$9,284Pulaski County Housing Authority$52,942Scott County Public Housing Agency$10,166Searcy Housing Authority$17,829St. Continue Reading →

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Virtual Heroes Ball is a Rousing Success


OICA Continues to Serve Despite Challenges Created by COVID-19

Thank you to everyone who was a part of the fourth annual Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) Heroes Ball last Friday night. It was a success beyond even our best hopes. The event was held virtually across the Zoom platform, originating from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Postmates provided food delivery to participants. This virtual banquet was a tremendous success, especially for being the first of its kind. Continue Reading →

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