The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is now accepting nominations online for the Laura Choate Resilience Award. The award was created to celebrate individuals who have overcome significant childhood adversity to make a lasting contribution to the lives of young people. Nominees have exhibited bravery and demonstrated a dedication to fostering resilience in Oklahoma children. The public can submit nominations through OICA.org until September 29 at 5 PM.

This award is named for Laura Choate, who served as a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit that helped to uncover and reform widespread abuse and neglect within the state’s  juvenile justice system. The lawsuit was successful and resulted in dramatic changes to Oklahoma law and agency policy. Since then, Choate continues to advocate for improvements to the state’s child welfare and juvenile justice programs.

OICA CEO Joe Dorman says the award honors her tenacity and commitment to helping others.

“Laura was never satisfied with just escaping an abusive system,” said Dorman. “She wanted to be part of a movement that shed a light on that abuse and permanently end it. Her advocacy and her willingness to share her story have helped to create a safer child welfare system and has inspired countless children and adults who have faced difficult circumstances. We are proud to name an award honoring courage, resilience and a commitment to Oklahoma children after Laura.”

The award will be presented on November 2 at the Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Conference sponsored by OICA. KIDS COUNT is the state’s premier event providing training to improve the lives of Oklahoma children and discussing issues impacting children in the state. At the conference, working groups help to create a yearly legislative agenda for OICA, tackling topics that include foster parent training, early childhood development, mental health, substance abuse, family preservation and poverty. It takes place on November 2nd at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Members of the public can register at OICA.org.

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