Denwalt: A year after cutting child abuse prevention funds, state OKs new grants

 

The Oklahoma Department of Health has restored funding for child abuse prevention after it was cut during the state's budget crisis nearly a year ago.

Nonprofit community agencies across the state will again receive their share of about $2 million, which will be used for in-home support of new parents. Before the program was defunded, it served 700 families who were expecting a child or had young children in the home.

Beverly Washington, director of Youth and Family Services for Hughes and Seminole Counties, said her agency's $160,000 grant will be put to good use. When it lost the money last year, Washington said she had to cut back on services and terminate some employees.

"We had to find services for our families elsewhere, basically," she said.

As part of the effort to prevent situations that could lead to child abuse, the agency meets in home with families, providing parenting education and screening children for developmental issues.

"If a child is delayed, we can catch it early and hopefully prevent some learning difficulties," Washington said.

Nine community service agencies were awarded grants from the Health Department totaling $2,014,668. In Oklahoma City, Parent Promise received more than $280,000 for the next year to assist its 150 families.

Click here to read the rest of Dale Denwalt's article on NewsOK. 

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