Posted Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017
For information, contact Sherry Fair, executive director
The elimination of funding for vital parent education and support services for vulnerable families starting today will affect more than 500 families statewide, including about 75 families served by Parent Promise in Oklahoma County.
Parent Promise, along with eight other service providers across the state of Oklahoma, was notified Oct. 16 that the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is canceling all contracts to provide Parents as Teachers home visitation services through the Office of Child Abuse Prevention. The contract cancellation is effective today.
The elimination of this program comes as the OSDH is reeling from allegations of mismanagement of funds and a shortfall of at least $30 million. The elimination of the program means vulnerable families will not have the safety net provided by in-home parent education and support that helps ensure children are raised in a safe, loving and nurturing home.
In 2017, Parent Promise received 154 families into the in-home support program and performed more than 1,900 home visits. About 30 families are waiting for services. In recent years, home visiting services in Oklahoma City have shrunk due to federal and state cuts, and these cuts further weaken efforts to reduce child neglect and abuse efforts in Oklahoma County. From 2010 to 2016, child abuse cases have risen from 2, 353 confirmed cases to 2,833.
These state cuts are a cruel blow to the children whose parents need prevention and support services to meet the challenges of parenting. Parent Promise has been a trusted service provider through the Oklahoma Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP) office since 1995 and has served as a crucial lifeline to thousands of families during that time. OCAP was created in 1984 by the Oklahoma Child Abuse Prevention Act, Title 63, O.S. Section 1-227.1, which declared prevention of child maltreatment as a priority in Oklahoma. This makes child abuse prevention a core service in Oklahoma.
The home visitation services provided by Parent Promise strengthen families and contribute further to Oklahoma’s future in both health and well-being of our children and families. The investment up front in prevention is much less costly that treatment to address the impacts of children and families after abuse has occurred.
The board, staff and supporters of Parent Promise are working hard to fill the $277,000 hole in our budget left by the elimination of the state funds. We appreciate the support of private foundations, such as Wegener Foundation, James R. Brown Foundation, Arnall Family Foundation and Sarkeys Foundation, in supporting the continuation of Parent Promise’s home visitation services.
To learn more about the cuts to child abuse prevention services, please click on the links below.