October 16, 2017
This is a sad and tragic day for Oklahoma children. The home-based family support programs provided by Parent Promise and other partners across the state provide vulnerable families the support, resources and early intervention they need to prevent the risk of child abuse and neglect. We have learned today that the Oklahoma State Department of Health is eliminating all funding to this program and shutting it down. The small investment in home visitation and prevention is a far less cost to the state than the fallout once children become victims. Programs like Parent Promise help keep children safe by teaching at-risk parents how to be parents.
This action affects nine home visitation providers across the state that provide valuable support and resources to hundreds of children and families. Each of the families we serve has unique challenges in providing a positive parenting environment, and we help them break the generational cycle of hopelessness and put their children on a course for success. The state’s own statistics show that our programs are working. In 2016, 93% of children enrolled in these home visitation programs have never had a confirmed child maltreatment case with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
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.
The home visitation services provided by Parent Promise and the other providers across the state are helping strengthen families and preventing the neglect and abuse of Oklahoma’s children. These children and families will now be without this valuable support.
The board of directors and staff of Parent Promise are committed to our families. We know in-home family support programs help our clients learn to become successful parents who can provide safe, loving and nurturing homes for their children. In the next few days, the board and staff will work to determine next steps to raise the nearly $300,000 needed to continue these programs and serve our Parent Promise families.