New federal funding coming to Oklahoma is expected to create a better future for children across the state who are victims of abuse. The $325,000 is provided by the American Rescue Plan and will be going toward child abuse prevention and treatment.
The money will be distributed to various child advocacy centers and multidisciplinary teams across the state. The funding comes in the form of supplemental federal funds directed to the Child Abuse Prevent and Treatment act.
Joe Dorman with the Institute for Child Advocacy tells us these funds will help children get the treatment and tests they need much faster and without multiple trips that could traumatize them further.
“The cases have grown more severe, they’ve gone much longer and can build up or be more severe,” Dorman said. “When law enforcement finds out about this, by the time they get involved, it’s usually a much worse case. This money is going to be critical to help these centers function at this time.”
He said, just because those cases weren’t being reported as much during the pandemic, doesn’t mean the abuse wasn’t still happening.
The money will help state departments assist children in abusive situations more efficiently. It will also allow the centers to investigate a case and provide treatment when needed. Dorman said these funds will change how these children are able to get help.
“It’s going to provide more resources to make sure the centers have the technology they need, they have the footprint in the community they need, they can have a good building that will accommodate all it needs and just try to do more there,” Dorman said.
If you see a child you think may need help, you can call the 24-hour Oklahoma Department of Human Services Abuse hotline at 1-800-522-3511.