Tulsa Parent Child Center Concerned About Budget Cuts

Monday, February 14th 2011, 9:33 am
By: News On 6

NewsOn6.com & Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A Tulsa agency launched a new website Monday to keep its funding for child abuse prevention off the chopping block.

"We really wanted to get the word out to the public about this particular issue," Desiree Doherty.

Desiree Doherty is the executive director of the Tulsa Parent Child Center, the organization behind a new commercial and a new website aimed at preventing cuts to the Oklahoma Office of Child Abuse Prevention, or OCAP.

OCAP funds 21 programs, including the Tulsa Parent Child Center, that provide in-home help to prevent child abuse, before it starts. The head of the state department of health has proposed cutting OCAP to balance the budget.

1/13/2011 Related Story: Budgets Cuts Jeopardize Oklahoma Child Abuse Prevention Program

"There aren't enough dollars to go around, but we feel very strongly that the decisions made about the budget cannot be made by taking away the safety net for at risk children," Doherty said.

Doherty says OCAP works. More than 90 percent of children who receive its services don't end up in the DHS child welfare system. She says cutting the $3 million program will backfire.

"Because if we do that, we are going to spend many times more in state dollars down the road taking care of the consequences," she said. "To say nothing of the harm that's caused to children in the meantime."The OCAP cut was first suggested when the department of health was facing a five-percent cut. Governor Mary Fallin is now calling for just a three-percent cut.

"Even a three percent cut is going to severely hamper the agencies across the state who are in the home, serving at-risk children, helping to mitigate crisis for those children," Doherty said.

Critics say there are other state agencies that offer child abuse prevention services. Supporters respond OCAP is the only agency that provides early prevention before abuse is reported.

You can see the new commercial at its new website, www.preventneglect.org.