Child Crisis Centers Feeling Effects Of Oklahoma Budget Cuts

Wednesday, March 9th 2016, 6:10 pm
By: News On 6

Wednesday, Governor Mary Fallin said the State is in a crisis and must take money from the Rainy Day Fund.

She announced $51 million will go to schools and $21 million to prisons.

3/9/2016 Related Story: Governor, Lawmakers Agree To Use Rainy Day Fund To Help Education, DOC

No money is going towards the State Health Department, which is losing $4.2 million, including money for child crisis centers to help prevent child abuse.

Tulsa’s Parent Child Center is the largest contractor with the state and would see one of its programs completely wiped out.

"Well, my reaction, of course, was concern and alarm for the sake of the more than 400 parents and children that have been served in Tulsa County with state funding," said Executive Director Desiree Doherty.

The center provides programs that help prevent child abuse and neglect.

The proposed funding cuts would eliminate $400,000 a year from the center that provides education and weekly visits to pregnant women and families with infants.

Doherty said, “Crying babies are often the place where people react out of frustration and anger, and if they don't know about calming crying babies then they can really harm a baby."

Sadly, that’s a story all too familiar in the area - parents and caretakers reacting to a baby being just that, a baby.

3/2/2016 Related Story: Tulsa Police Arrest Mother Of Toddler Kicked In Head, Killed

Just last month, a mother and her boyfriend were arrested for the death of a 2-year-old boy. According to police, the boyfriend, Branden Taylor, admitted to kicking the child in the head after the toddler bit him.

“I think that children will suffer. I think children will be harmed, and I know that the cost of treatment and response to a child that has been abused is much more costly, and much more lengthy, than investing in the prevention of that abuse in the first place," Doherty said.

She said while she's afraid of the proposed cuts, the decision is not definite. And, she said, until then, she'll be rallying to keep saving the families of Tulsa.

"I hope that people will speak up for infants and toddlers," Doherty said.