With the regular Oklahoma legislative session kicking off in just two weeks, the Institute is hurriedly preparing to be the voice for children at the Capitol. This journey began months ago when we asked you to tell us about the important issues going on in your local communities across the state. Through community forums, online surveys and voting at the fall policy event, we were able to blend your comments with those of our partner organizations and create a list of priority focus areas. These are:
- Promoting Investments in Early Learning and Education;
- Encouraging Increased Access to Mental Health and Addiction Resources;
- Preserving Resources for Children in Poverty;
- Protecting Programs and Interventions to Strengthen Families; and
- Advancing Reforms within the Juvenile Justice System.
As always, the Institute will closely monitor bills impacting Oklahoma children and families. We are already seeing many prefiled bills focusing on education reforms, changes to family support programs and, with an estimated $170 million revenue shortfall, we are sure to see some proposed budget cuts to programs which are desperately needed to give children opportunities to thrive.
If you have not already, we encourage you to join our email listserv so that you get the most timely information on children’s policy issues. You can also access legislative updates via Facebook and Twitter.