Children’s Legislative Agenda is a Roadmap to a Better Oklahoma

Monday, 22 November 2021 15:38

Children’s Legislative Agenda is a Roadmap to a Better Oklahoma Featured

Written by Joe Dorman
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Over the past few weeks, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) has been compiling the policy suggestions from our annual Fall Forum, held in October. More than 120 attendees assembled to offer ideas. Last week, our board of directors voted on the final version of the document that highlights the thoughts, wishes and suggestions on policy from the advocates.

While there are endless ways to categorize the issues with what children face in Oklahoma, our team decided to break down the discussion into four broad-based topics: Mental and Physical Health of Children; Economic Stability for Oklahoma Families; Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Policies; and Technology Access and Broadband Improvement.

Please go to to read this six page document detailing the issues which our organization will pursue with lawmakers and state agencies to improve the lives of children in our state. This will also expand as lawmakers submit their own ideas for children’s policy and our advocacy committee goes through these filed pieces of legislation. We always look forward to this time of year to see the creativity on potential policies and the lively discussion which ensues.

We have been visiting with several lawmakers about key issues, including policies which will carry over from last year. On the agenda, you will find items such as improving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for families, implementing a reimbursement to doctors to do the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) survey for pediatric visits, finding better ways to provide support for families with children with developmental disabilities, and improving oral health programs.

You will also see suggestions for improving access to legal representation for families across the state dealing with issues involving children, physical education and life skills classes for students, modernization of juvenile justice policies, ensuring local health departments have resources to handle continued pandemic issues and further improvements to the work done by the previous legislature regarding increased access to Internet throughout the state.
As you can see, there is no end to the work that needs to be done in our state for children. Thanks to the advocates who helped shape this agenda, we have a pathway to seeing better. We are counting on lawmakers, agency leaders and our advocates from across Oklahoma to help these conversations become reality.

As we have a short work week due to Thanksgiving, the team with OICA has been working hard to get some exciting projects finalized before taking a couple of days off. We will announce those soon.

Thanksgiving is a time of fellowship with friends and family, and a time to be thankful for the good things which have happened in your life over the past year. For the upcoming weekend, I am certainly thankful to be able to spend time with my family on Thursday and Friday, and to end the weekend with an exciting football game in Stillwater!

I want to wish each of you a wonderful holiday weekend, and please do not forget those who are struggling to make ends meet this year. Being thankful is just part of the equation; what is truly the difference maker for those is need is the giving. Please consider finding a charitable organization and providing support to them over the weekend and for Giving Tuesday next week!

  • About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk. Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action, and changing policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”

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