April 14, 2020



Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 833-1117

Email: jdorman@oica.org


OICA Sets “Child Advocacy Chat” Phone Call for April 22

OKLAHOMA CITY – As it continues to help Oklahomans and their children through the COVID-19 crisis, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) has scheduled a special “Child Advocacy Chat” for Wednesday, April 22.

“This is a mammoth undertaking and we want to give as many Oklahoman as possible a chance to participate,” said Joe Dorman, CEO of OICA. “The more people on the telephone and internet conference, the better the outcome will be to ensure accurate information is delivered to Oklahomans.”

The purpose of the Child Advocacy Chat is to help provide information about COVID-19 best health practices and boost awareness of the benefits of filling out the U.S. Census, especially with health-related concerns during this pandemic. Two internet chats already have occurred, and another will happen on Wednesday, April 15; this fourth one on April 22 will be a much larger endeavor.

According to Dorman, the organization will reach out to 30,000 Oklahoma phone numbers of registered voters in low Census response areas to invite them to participate in the Child Advocacy Chat thanks to a grant received by the organization. The system will autodial phones 24 hours prior to the chat to let people know they have been selected for the subsequent town hall phone call. The program is one of the ways OICA is working to help Oklahomans during the COVID-19 crisis and Census participation has been a goal of the organization to ensure the state’s children have access to the resources they deserve.

The discussion will be an hour-long conversation about COVID-19 issues and health best practices across the state and the need to receive additional state Medicaid funds by filling out the U.S. Census and getting an accurate count of people living in the state. In addition to the telephone conference, there will be an internet teleconference component on the Zoom platform running at the same time.

The Federal Communications Commission has granted temporary waivers to autodial mobile numbers for appropriate organizations disseminating information regarding COVID-19 awareness. Even so, OICA will do its best to call only landlines or mobile phones permitted to receive these types of calls to comply with non-pandemic regulations.

  Among those expected to be on the call to share information is Deb Stein with the Partnership for America’s Children to discuss national updates on national health and census operations; Oklahoma state secretary of Commerce Sean Kouplen, discussing Oklahoma census updates and the economic programs available under COVID-19 parameters; state Rep Jon Echols, the House majority leader, to discuss the efforts underway at the state to protect people through the remaining legislative session; as well as a state health care official to discuss what is happening with COVID-19 and Medicaid accessibility to help with treatment. Participants on the call will also have the opportunity to ask questions to these officials, pending time allowed during the one-hour call.

The invitation call will go out on Tuesday, April 21 with a pre-recorded message to those receiving the invitation; the telephone and teleconference Child Advocacy Chat will be Wednesday, April 22 at noon.  If people would like to guarantee a spot on the Child Advocacy Chat, the first 500 to sign up at www.oica.org will be a part of the Zoom portion of the discussion.