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The Oklahoma State Department of Health Eliminates Programs Protecting Children

The Parent Child Center of Tulsa (PCCT), along with eight other agencies across the state of Oklahoma were distraught to receive formal notification Monday, October 16th that the Oklahoma State Department of Health is cancelling all contracts to provide Parents As Teachers home visitation services through the Office of Child Abuse Prevention effective November 15, 2017.

The elimination of this program further weakens the already stretched safety net for vulnerable families in Tulsa. Statistics show, time and again, that prevention of child abuse and neglect is much less costly both in dollars and human suffering than treatment to address the impact on children and families after abuse has occurred. The Parents as Teachers program helps to ensure families across a spectrum of risk for abuse and neglect receive preventative services to insure babies are safe, protected, and developing appropriately.  Without this funding, these services will go away.

At this moment, the parent educators at PCCT are serving 92 Tulsa families and an additional 21 families are transitioning into home visiting services while 20 families are waiting for services. In recent years, home visiting services in Tulsa have shrunk due to federal and state cuts. In 2016 the Oklahoma Department of Human Services reports a 34% increase in one year of confirmed cases of child abuse and/or neglect in Tulsa County, from 1,995 to 2,680 cases. Further cuts to our local home visiting resources could have devastating impacts for children whose parents need these types of prevention resources to navigate the challenges of parenting.

The Office of Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP) was created in 1984 by the Oklahoma Child Abuse Prevention Act, Title 63, O. S. Section 1-227.1.  The Act declared prevention of child maltreatment as a priority in Oklahoma.  Recognizing child abuse and neglect as a significant public health issue, the legislature placed the OCAP at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, emphasizing the importance of prevention rather than “after-the-fact” intervention.  Child abuse prevention is a core state service.

CLICK HERE to learn more on KTUL News Channel 8 – Tulsa.
CLICK HERE to learn more on KOTV News Channel 6 – Tulsa.
CLICK HERE to learn more about cuts to our agency, and possible cuts to multiple agencies in the Tulsa World.
Thank you to these media outlets for your coverage of this important information.

We welcome your thoughts and suggestions for moving forward. If you would like more information and to speak with someone on our staff regarding how you might help, call Nancy Moore today at 918-699-0528, or email her at nmoore@parentchildcenter.org.

The board of directors and staff at The Parent Child Center of Tulsa are committed to the families we serve. We know that our Parents as Teachers program helps parents learn to be safe and nurturing parents. In the immediate future, the board and staff will work to identify a plan to raise the $444,000 needed annually to maintain these important prevention services for Tulsa families.

Make a stand. CLICK HERE to send us immediate support. 

We encourage you to reach out to your own legislators to give them your thoughts and opinions. If you don’t know who your legislators are, you can find them online by CLICKING HERE.

PCCT is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit agency and we are neutral with respect to party affiliation, because as in all things, we work collaboratively with any necessary partners for the good of our clients.

The vulnerable families we serve, and our staff, thank you for your attention to these distressing developments in our state.

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