Restoring child abuse prevention funding will help vulnerable families

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(Oklahoma City) The news that the Oklahoma State Department of Health will restore funding for child abuse prevention home visitation programs in 2019 is good news for Oklahoma families, said the executive director of a leading home visiting organization in Oklahoma City.

“Parent Promise is pleased with this decision, and we look forward to working with the Oklahoma State Department of Health on a new contract for Fiscal Year 2019,” said Sherry Fair. “Home visitation has proven to be an effective way to deter families from more expensive state services, such as child welfare, foster care and the judicial system. Parent Promise will continue to look for opportunities to serve more families with our voluntary home visitation programs.”

Tom Bates, interim director of the health department, made the announcement Monday that funding will be restored for the 2019 fiscal year. Up to 10 contractors will be selected to provide home visitation programs for families with children 0-5 through the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program. The funding for the 2018 fiscal year was eliminated in November 2017 amid allegations of a financial crisis at the health department. A grand jury investigation revealed in May that no such crisis actually existed.

Parent Promise has been a partner with the health department in providing home visitation programs since 1995. Fair expressed gratitude for the help of legislators, Bates and health department staff in working to restore funding to child abuse prevention services.

“Tom Bates has been extremely open and willing to talk to us about the need for these valuable prevention programs,” Fair said. “He understands how prevention is effective in helping to stop generations of hopelessness and helplessness that some of our most vulnerable families face.

“We at Parent Promise want to again thank the foundations and other supporters for helping us continue to provide our families with support services that help them build resiliency and provide safe, loving and nurturing homes for their children,” Fair said.