Recent Articles

Three Key Interim Studies Focus on Children’s Issues

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) has had the opportunity over the past few months to work with state lawmakers on various issues covered in legislative interim studies. If you are not familiar with these, state senators and representatives can request from the presiding officer of their respective chambers the opportunity to delve into a topic about an issue of importance. Prior to the deadline for the filing period, we reached out to several lawmakers to request topics which would focus on important issues for Oklahoma children and families. The first study in which we played a part was the Oklahoma Senate study reviewing the topic of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma-Informed Care. This was a follow-up study to the one held last year in the House of Representatives by Rep. Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore. Senator AJ Griffin filed this study prior to her departure from the Legislature, and we were pleased to continue that work with Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City and Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada. The study assembled some of the best and brightest minds in Oklahoma regarding this topic and the seven lawmakers who were present asked very relevant questions. I am certain this effort will lead to great work by the Trauma-Informed Care Task Force authored by Sen. Griffin and Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa in Senate Bill 1517 this past session. In fact, there will be follow-up legislation to expand the membership and scope of the study to include greater regional representation for a statewide presence. The next study in which OICA participated was one requested by Senator Allison Ikley-Freeman, D-Tulsa, which reviewed school suspension policy in Oklahoma. The assembled presenters discussed the issues impacting students who face either in-school or out-of-school suspension in our state. There has been legislation the past two years to modify how suspensions are treated for students who commit assault on a teacher or another student. Violence in the classroom is an extremely serious issue and something that absolutely must be dealt with. However, OICA continues to encourage policymakers not to simply back new laws that increase punishments for children who act out. Continue Reading →

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OICA Candidate Surveys Are Now Available Online

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is pleased to be a key partner in “2018: Oklahoma Year of the Child,” an effort to encourage interest in children’s issues with candidates for office. OICA compiled a list of what we felt were the top twenty positive bills from this past legislative session so voters can see who supported child-friendly potential laws. We have also undertaken the task of reaching out to candidates to ask them three simple questions. The full results, including candidate surveys, will be uploaded by Wednesday, June 20 to oica.org under the legislative tab (or directly at http://oica.org/legislation/candidate-questionnaire/candidate-questionnaire-results/). The survey questions are:

What ideas/policies will you pursue to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children? For example, what laws or policies will you champion, what programs will you attempt to expand or decrease, and what area of interest regarding children will you establish yourself as a leader amongst your colleagues. What have you done to support children prior to this election? For example, discuss policies which you have had a direct impact in seeing implemented, what volunteer work have you personally done to improve the lives of children, or have you had a job which has worked with kids. Continue Reading →

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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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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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