Help OICA Prevent “Oklahoma Shame” from Repeating

Oklahoma City – During these last days before Christmas, many businesses and nonprofit organizations went to “skeleton crew” duties.

I have bronchitis this week, so that has made it where I must work from home but I am keeping my phones forwarded and checking my emails.

This can be one of the most stressful times of the year for many, and lawmakers are also working on final drafts of ideas for the 2024 session.

Looking back, 2023 has been a turbulent year, with financial burdens facing many and the stress of keeping up seeming more and more difficult each day for most Oklahomans.

Nonprofits are certainly not alone in that category, many making extremely tough decisions to keep their doors open.

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is no different.

We saw a shortfall in projected revenue from our two major events, and annual giving has been slower this year.

Last week, our Board of Directors approved our annual budget, reducing our numbers substantially for operations and making some cuts to additional efforts we supported that were not essential to our mission.

To this, I asked the OICA Finance Committee chair to not give me the annual raise for our employees but to use it to ensure our team did receive their much-needed raises and to support our programs.

I am fully investing in our mission of “creating awareness, taking action, and supporting policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”

Our team has done amazing things this year and I know with inflation, they need those additional funds. I am asking you to consider what is important to you.

Over the past year, OICA worked to distribute SoonerCare information to schools and daycares in 20 rural counties to inform families about the children’s health insurance for which they likely will qualify.

That was more than 115,000 children whose families received important healthcare information.

OICA is working with other nonprofits to seek additional revenue for children who are in foster care by advocating for better support services up-front, therefore hopefully reducing the number of youths entering the DHS system and sometimes being placed in group homes.

We are also one of the lead organizations that worked countless hours to preserve OETA and to eliminate the use of corporal punishment on special needs students in school.

Oklahoma ranks #1 in the count of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

This toxic trauma impacts long-term health and factors into success as an adult.

Imagine a world where children do not have an independent voice working for their best interests at both our state and nation’s capital buildings.

It is not hard to visualize; simply look at the “Oklahoma Shame” reporting from the 1980s we have on our website.

OICA has been here for 40 years ensuring that young people have that representation and that lawmakers receive the factual data they need to make the best decisions for young Oklahomans.

If you can offer support, please join me this week contributing to support the mission of a nonprofit you believe is doing good work.

Consider making a small, monthly donation of $5, $10, or $25 to an organization as it helps their budget. To learn more about OICA or do donate to us, go to https://www.oica.org .

Or, donate to:

OICA

2915 N. Classen Boulevard, Suite 320

Oklahoma City, OK 73106

I believe in the work of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, and other youth-serving programs.

Please help with what you can to continue our critical mission.

NOTES: Joe Dorman is chief executive officer at The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. The group is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023. According to promotional material, “The organization was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk.” Their mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.” Joe Dorman, author of this commentary, appears frequently on the CapitolBeatOK.com website, and in print or online for CityNewsOK.