Homeless/Displaced Youth Resources Highlighted
OKLAHOMA CITY -- State. Rep. Chelsey Branham, D-OKC, hosted a youth provider summit Thursday focused on Oklahoma’s homeless and displaced youth population.
The virtual summit featured a keynote address from Oklahoma DHS Child Welfare Director Dr. Deb Shropshire, five different breakout sessions for participants to attend as well as a legislative panel that allowed lawmakers to give their perspective on what has been done and can still be done at the Capitol to protect and serve this vulnerable population.
“It is incredibly important that we in the Legislature continue to focus on and address the issues of Oklahoma’s homeless and displaced youth populations,” said legislative panel participant and Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Kay Floyd. “Thanks to Rep. Branham for organizing the Youth Provider Summit and a special thanks to those who participated.”
The breakout sessions were led by organizations and agencies that are working daily to serve Oklahoma’s displaced and homeless youth populations. The organizations represented were SISU Youth Services; Generation Citizen; Pivot; Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth; Oklahoma Association of Youth Services; Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
“Many barriers are standing in the path to success and this summit helped educate and connect policymakers and service providers to collaborate on removing these obstacles,” said Jamie Caves, Sisu Youth Services Executive Director. “This summit was important to provide needed resources and support for these young people as they pave their road ahead. As we have learned during this pandemic, our other problems don’t go away because we are focused on COVID. They are exacerbated. Meeting virtually and hearing from the different agencies allows all of us an opportunity to refocus on these children.”
Like the work that these organizations do, the success of this summit was due to the collaborative effort of everyone involved.
“This summit was a huge success in part to our wonderful speakers, but largely from the large number of community members, service providers, and youth that attended and committed to collaborating to make Oklahoma better for our youth,” Branham said. “I am incredibly thankful to every person and I look forward to what we can do together as a community.”