For The Children Weekly Column

Visit to Washington County Provides Insight into Local Child Advocacy Efforts

September 12, 2022

“For the Children” Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, OICA CEO


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

Telephone: (405) 833-1117


OKLAHOMA CITY – The opportunity to visit the various parts of the state is a welcome chance to see the good work done by local youth-serving organizations.

Such an occasion occurred recently when the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth (OCCY) held one of their tours of Oklahoma communities to share the work they do. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) was one of the participating organizations which attended the stops on this tour, and we saw amazing work being done by local leaders.

I want to start off by thanking the wonderful civic leader in Bartlesville who helped orchestrate the trip and the stops: Sen. Julie Daniels, Karen Waddell, Vanessa Drummond, Rachelle Wilson, and the others who hosted visits. Their knowledge of the outstanding programs and the ability to set up the various visits helped make this a highly informative two-day event.

Special thanks to Senator Daniels who arranged for a dinner discussion with key youth program and local economic development leaders. This set the stage for understanding the community better and learning about the business impact made in support of many organizations which serve the community.

Following this, OCCY, OICA and Gabrielle Jacobi with the Oklahoma Policy Institute participated in a radio interview with KWON Radio, and a lunch discussion with the Bartlesville Kiwanis Club about the efforts of each of the organizations. We each shared a bit about our work, which Gabrielle included very enlightening KIDS COUNT data relating to Washington County.

OCCY discussed their mission, including their Post Adjudication Review Board and their watchdog efforts over the work done by state agencies to ensure youth are receiving appropriate services. I had the pleasure of highlighting our Kid Governor program and encouraged local 5th Grade teachers to reach out about this program for their students.

There were also other youth programs present for the Kiwanis meeting, including representatives discussing tribal youth services and local educators sharing about programs available for young people.

Rep. Judd Strom also joined in much of the tour, including visits to Ray of Hope Child Advocacy Center, the local Youth and Family Services, and the Boys and Girls Club of Bartlesville. Each of these outstanding organizations provides a different type of service for youth.

Ray of Hope serves as the organization to assist with forensic interviews of youth who might have had an issue which created severe trauma for the child, and the video interview conducted is allowed as evidence in court to ensure justice is served.

Youth and Family Services provides a facility to help provide a home setting for young people who are sometimes justice-involved and offers support services to help them prepare for adulthood.

The Boys and Girls Club offers not only an after-school opportunity for young people to have a place with fun activities, but they also provide tutoring and leadership development, thanks to the generosity of local financial support, but individually and from businesses.

I have always enjoyed visiting Bartlesville through the years, and this trip certainly elevated that appreciation for this community. If you have the opportunity to do a staycation in state, here you have the Price Tower and other wonderful destinations close by.

Washington County will host several upcoming events which could use your support. Be sure to check out their community calendar at and I might even see you at the Hops for Hope benefitting Ray of Hope on November 5!