Office SeekingEmail AddressNameWhat would you do to close the opportunity gap for the millions of children now being left behind?What will you do to improve the early years of a child’s life?Do you see pre-school as an essential part of the education system?What would you do to make college more accessible for those who want to go?What would you do to help limit the trauma experienced by children living in Oklahoma?What would you do to ensure that every child has access to the best available medical and dental care?What would you do to reduce incarceration, but preserve the safety of children, in Oklahoma?How would you improve policies benefiting children in foster care or under the Office of Juvenile Affairs?What are your thoughts of preserving parental rights while protecting children from injury, harm or disease under the law?What would you like to express about your views of child advocacy that we did not ask you?
CD1evelynlrogers@yahoo.comEvelyn L RogersThere are child advocacy workers, tutors, interpreters, counselors, and librarians whose services could become essential to assist these children.If those who are working one-on-one with significant others in children's lives would be given both workbooks of "how to..." it could greatly benefit these children by aiding those who are caring for them.What learning that can begin at early ages is essential whether it be through pre-school or private learning centers or homes or socialization with others in an early learning environment.Home schooling is important in early years of life.Life-long learning is crucial for everyone. Community Colleges who assist students in their community with free or scholarship assistance help this goal to be filled. When libraries are open again, then the disparity of haves and have-nots can be bridged better in people learning how to navigate the scholarship process, and other doors, needed for success in their communities.Every child needs food, clothing, and safe shelter as well as God-centered character training to be able to have trauma reduced in their lives.Work for a way on the federal level to see changes in appropriate legislation to assist this to happen.Re-training should be considered more important above lock-up. People in lock-up get 1st hand experience as to what to do worse the next time when they leave that facility. It appears that criminal system of lock-up needs to be changed as to "purpose" for being there. Safety of children is a priority that needs to be considered, when gun bills are considered, for example.Children in these systems need to be given weekly times of training in Christian environment and Christian education to allow a change to be developed in them in character development rather than what they had experienced previously.Parents are also needing adequate time of counseling and retraining, prior to being given rights again to being in the middle of where children had experienced injury, harm, or disease under the law.I am running for a federal office "US House of Representatives #1" on November ballot, and appreciate the opportunity to answer these questions as well.
CD2richieforliberty@gmail.comRichard CastaldoLocalize education and welfare.Restore parental rights, free market healthcare, and community voluntaryism.No. The best form of early education is from parents and family.Replace degree schools with trade education wherever possible.End the war on drugs and stop dividing fathers and mothers from their children for victimless crimes.Free market.End the prosecution of victimless crimes and localize child welfare programs.Open up the adoption system to make it more accessible and non-discriminatory.Localize welfare programs and remove state regulations from parental guardianship.Children are not the property of the State.
CD5tomguild@sbcglobal.netTom GuildHead Start and other pre-K programs must be fully funded. As an adoptive child, incentives should be given to families to adopt children or to provide them with good, safe, and nurturing foster homes. Nutrition programs, including free and reduced priced meals at school and backpack or other after school nutrition programs should be adequately funded and expanded. WIC and SNAP programs should be expanded. Adequate clothing must be provided so that children will feel comfortable as they attend school. Twenty years ago, I founded Tommy's Fund at Payne Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas to provide clothing for underprivileged students. Payne was my first school before the family moved to Tulsa. Private initiatives should be encouraged. Opportunities for children to attend school even if they do not have stable and dependable shelter should be expanded and fully funded. Public schools should be more robustly funded. Our public schools are the most important democratic institution in America.Provide a safe environment, adequate nutrition and shelter, educational opportunities at every age, and whatever additional support they need to grow up healthy with a positive self image and with the life skills necessary to survive and thrive in the world.Pre-school is an essential part of the education system. Every child deserves an opportunity to attend pre-school. This will help bridge any educational and learning gaps a child may have as a result of poverty or the lack of opportunity, which is simply a stark reality for millions of our children.Pell Grants should be robustly funded and made more widely available. Scholarship opportunities should be created to make college more affordable. Our family has created the Dr. Carl Guild Scholarship at the University of Central Oklahoma and the Freda Guild Scholarship at the University of Oklahoma. We need to have state education grants along the lines of the Tuition Equalization Grants in the State of Texas. Funding for children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds should be increased at the state and federal levels. College work study programs should be adequately funded and expanded to allow students to work to earn money to partially fund their college education.The safety of children is job 1. We need to remove children from abusive or dangerous environments and provide each individual child with love, a healthy environment, and the essentials to survive. Mental health treatment and support should be provided for children who are traumatized while trying to make their way in this world.Medicaid should be expanded in Oklahoma on June 30, 2020. Medicare for All should be adopted which will provide universal health care in the United States. Medicare for All should include and provide dental care.We must continue the effort for criminal justice reform in Oklahoma by reducing penalties for non-violent crimes. We must make wider use of drug courts and treat addiction as a medical issue instead of just locking up addicts and throwing away the key. No child should be placed in a home where their safety is at risk regardless of the reasons for that lack of safety. Foster homes should be thoroughly and continually monitored as should shelters, group homes, and prospective adoptive parents. The safety of children should be our first priority. In my last foster home, my foster brother and I were regularly bullwhipped by our foster mother. This practice was only brought to light and effectively dealt with after my adoptive mother learned of my awful experiences.Oklahoma needs to dramatically increase funding for children in foster care placements. Sometimes keeping families intact is in the best interests of a child. Sometimes that is not the best option and only prolongs a child's misery. We need additional funding to hire and pay child welfare workers so that they can advocate for and help locate healthy and safe environments for children. My longest foster home was the most abusive and most dangerous placement I had as a young child. The Tulsa Boys' Home was the safest and most nurturing placement I had after being abandoned at a young age. We need adequate funding for the Office of Juvenile Affairs. Oklahoma has never placed a high priority on caring for at risk children. We must do better in the future.My biological mother was diagnosed as clinically depressed and medicated for the rest of her life after abandoning my brother and me in Tulsa. Her second husband was an alcoholic and was physically, mentally, and sexually abusive to other members in the household. Even had they not abandoned us, it was an unsafe environment, and we should have been removed from the home years before being abandoned. The best interests of the child should always be the focus while protecting children from harm. Preserving parental rights should take priority if the parents are demonstrably ready, willing, and able to provide a safe and nurturing home environment for their children. Otherwise, the damage done to children can be long lasting and potentially irreversible.Children are our most important assets. As a young child of poverty surviving on government commodities, who was abandoned at the age of six, I know what a difficult and damaging experience growing up poor while constantly experiencing food and shelter insecurity was. Not every child is as fortunate as I was to be adopted by a caring and loving family at the age of nine. Unfortunately, that Hallmark moment is not every child's future. We should do our best by the bright, beautiful children of Oklahoma and unleash their boundless energy and limitless potential.
CORPspradlingharold@yahoo.comHarold D SpradlingUrge the provision of educational support. Job opportunities Assist single parents who work long hours and leave children without adult guidanceyesyesloosen restrictions on student loansSpiritual support and mental health support for the in-home adult. My license include LADC and LPC. M. Ed. as school counselor . Child Protection Worker for TribesUrge the caregiver to be aware and to know where to take the child. Discount or subsidized health care.As a 14 year Director of a Substance Abuse Program and 16 bed residential center. With Gov. Stitt I have personally discussed early release and shorter sentences for parents of small children.Comprehensive plans for the child when aging out.I have been a party to removing a child from a neglectful but loving home and placing the child in a unloved home. No a good idea.As corporation commissioner. I will do what I can to avoid the discontinuance of basic needs to the child. NO CHILD SHOULD EVER RETURN HOME TO A COLD AND DARKENED HOME. (Mine have).
HD100summerforhd100@gmail.comSummer WesleySchools need to be properly funded, including ensuring that programming and services are available to meet the individual needs of each child.Advocate for children through improvements to education system as well as social programming to support families in order to provide children with the best foundation possible.YesIncrease accessibility to college both through the admission process as well and financing.Public education regarding child development as well as social support for families to help them improve early childhood experiences, as well as working on eliminating poverty, which has been shown to reduce risk factors. For far to long we have been reactionary & children have suffered.Work to ensure that all children have to medical/dental coverage, but also that they have the ability to access those services. This overlaps with infrastructure, as well, such as public transportation and economic issues, such as a livable wage.Ending incarceration for non violent crimes will reduce incarceration but not increase risks to children.Policies need to focus on child safety and family preservation, and not remove children or incarcerate them unnecessarily. Children's rights need to be considered, not merely those of the adults involved in the case; which is not currently the situation in the juvenile system.This is extremely complex with infinite variables. However, I believe in protecting the children and making decisions based on what is best for them, as balanced according to research, and not opinion.Advocating for children is something that I have spent my entire adult life doing, and I am dedicated to continuing that.
HD101madelinescottfor101@gmail.comMadeline ScottTo start, I would work to improve funding for both DHS and public education. As a teacher, I found that frequently students who were falling behind were dealing with trauma or learning disabilities. Improving the identification and treatment of these issues is a great first step to catching them up. Additionally, I believe our state needs to limit emergency teaching certifications as it creates the problem of having under qualified individuals working with students. Without proper teacher training it is difficult to diversify instruction to fit the needs of the population you are serving.I have supported, and will continue to support Pre-K as a right. Allowing students to develop both socially and academically prior to entering Kindergarten has been extremely beneficial.Absolutely, it allows students to become familiar with academic content, social development, and improved cognitive function.In an ideal world we would have a tuition cap for public universities in our state. As things stand now, I’d like to expand the Oklahoma’s Promise program. I’d like to not only raise the maximum household income to qualify, but to raise awareness of the program. I would support tuition caps of public institutions in the future.As a teacher I have sought out extensive training on trauma-informed teaching. This experience showed me how high the average ACE score was in our state. I would love to find a way to add trauma-informed training to the teacher certification process. Additionally, I would support increased funding to the Department of Human Services so they can better serve our communities.I’ll put it simply. We need to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma. On multiple occasions now, we have passed up opportunities to accept federal dollars to increase accessibility to affordable healthcare in our state. No one should have to worry about the cost of going to the doctor, or whether or not they are going to be able to afford a life-saving surgery. I watched my parents go into medical debt caring for my younger sister who has autism, bi-polar disorder, and seizures. No family should financially struggle simply to provide their child with medical care.If we can find a way to help non-violent offenders who have the ability to care for their children stay out of jail through reformative measures rather than incarceration, it would be a huge step in the right direction. Additional funding to the Department of Human Services with the intention of bringing on more social workers will be key to making this happen. Before a parent could regain parental custody there would need to be a series of home visits and in depth evaluations to establish that the child/children would be well cared for.Sadly there is a massive shortage of resources when it comes to child welfare in our state. No amount of assistance will be able to replace the love of a family. Exploring counselling as an option to help families stay together rather than having children placed in foster care may prove to be beneficial. I believe providing families with resources to be successful parents will be key.

In regard to the Office of Juvenile Affairs, I would stress that the process here should hinge on restorative justice rather than punitive measures. I would support the addition of a peer/teen court with a focus on restorative justice as well.
The goal is to protect the rights and health of the child above all else. The termination of parental rights should occur only if there is not a better option. As I stated previously, foster care is not an equal substitute to a loving family. If counseling and other interventions have failed and reunification is not an option, parental rights do need to be terminated. Regardless of the emotions of the adults involved, the protection of the child's well being takes priority.Not at this time.
HD18wagnerforokhouse.dist18@gmail.comBrecken WagnerFocus on our 3 year old to Pre to Kindergarten programs. We know that when it comes to our children the phrase "the earlier the better" is applicable to nearly every situation that affects a child's life now and as they mature.finding in roads between a child's school life and their home life is critical. We need more programs that invite parents and teachers to work together. We need to find ways to promote community involvement, and we need to fund all core services without exception. Funding our schools should always be the top priority.Yes. It is essential.We need to look at scholarships and reduced tuition costs for OK residents that are based upon economic need that just grades and test scores.Criminal justice reform is a good place to start. The war on drugs has decimated the American family, and we are left with the shreds of what was once a recognizable nuclear family with both parents in the home. Reform our courts and our schools and start helping those adults that need real reform like our state was promised when we overwhelmingly passed SQ781. If we have moms and dads at home and not in our prisons and jails, then we are going to reduce the amount of tragic situations and experiences by children ten-fold.Every child should be covered, and should not be restricted to "in network" only services.Insurance companies should not be able to opt out of coverage for children so easily. We need coverage for new and innovative and even experimental therapies, medications, and treatments for children. We know when it comes to every disease or disability that early intervention is paramount. I would like to see the red tape of regulations removed to allow coverage sooner in children's lives.As an attorney that has worked in this field I know how we lose great foster families everyday. It's a tragedy how we treat our foster families. I understand the need for being diligent when it comes to these applicants and families already in the system, but there is plenty of room for improvement.We need better trained workers and investigators in the Department of Human Services. Again, I am an attorney, and I am very familiar with the qualifications and skills of many investigators and workers. It is appalling. Start with reform here and breathe some respect back into DHS.I know how to be an advocate. I also know how to be an advocate for children. I have served as an attorney for children in every capacity. I have served as a Gaurdian Ad Litem, and as an attorney for children in everything from deprived proceedings to juvenile delinquent proceedings, to defending minors charged with capital murder. I know how to advocate for children and as the father of a child with disabilities I have been called to be an advocate in every aspect of his life also.
HD23susan@susancarleyoung.comSusan Carle YoungI would help sponsor and pass bills that would support public education in every way possible.Improve access to child care for working families; advocate for a higher state minimum wage; support low-income housing and food support programs.YesI would work to lower in-state tuition for Oklahoma institutes of higher education, and to restore funding to higher education that was lost over the last decade to the 2008 economic downturn and to the tax cuts that preceded and accompanied it. Administrative costs in higher education have increased substantially and I believe that this needs to be closely watched and evaluatedIncrease funding for mental health care in schools and in the community; make sure that DHS child welfare programs are adequately funded; and expand and improve maternal-child health services at the county and state level.I support passage of SQ 802, which will expand Medicaid and bring much-needed medical funding to Oklahoma, and increase access to medical and dental care for all. Medicaid enrollment outreach and advertising also need to be increased.I support passage of SQ 805, which will tend to reduce the length of prison sentences in Oklahoma for nonviolent offenses (which are excessively high), but will retain serious penalties for violent crimes such as domestic and child abuse.I would, in addition to advocating for adequate funding for DHS and the OJS, encourage the use of alternative responses to removal from the home, and in-home parental support programs, to lower the number of children who end up in foster care and reduce the time they spend out of the parental home.Parental rights are important and should only be terminated as a last resort; however, the child's safety is paramount and should be the most important consideration in a case of chronic abuse or neglect.My views about child advocacy were formed during my years as a pediatric intensive care nurse, with the Tulsa City-County Health Department as a maternal-child health nurse, and as a board member of CASA of Northeastern Oklahoma. I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with the OICA.
HD24Logan4house@gmail.comLogan J. PhillipsIncreasing infrastructure and support services. I have worked with at risk students for years who are lacking in basic supplies and resources that would close the digital divide and provide a pathway out of poverty. As your state representative I will work to provide funding for mental health, DHS, and infrastructure projects will will increase our connectivity.I have volunteered for years as a big brother, helping mentor young men. In my personal life I choose to interact one on one to help our children. As a representative I will work to improve the early life of children by providing opportunities for advancement and growth.YesMany barriers remain for entry into a qualified college program. We know in 2020 alone we are graduating 3 million less college educated students than our economy is needing. It shouldn’t matter where you live or where you fall on the socioeconomic ladder. What matters is if a student wants to open his or her mind, learn from a respected research university, and show the world they can succeed academically, they ought to have an inclusive program to jumpstart their college career.

This process can be increased by allowing more concurrent enrollments and funding grant programs that allow students to enter into our community and vocational programs.
Oklahoma is ranked one of the least healthy states on the Adverse Childhood Experiences charts. With nearly 28% of our children having tow or more indicators. These adverse experiences leave a lasting impact on children health and well being. We know that early experiences have a broad and profound impact that can lead to issues later in life such as depression and suicide and an increase in destructive drug use.

To lower our score and limit our children's exposure to these ACE indicators Oklahoma has to deal with the underlying issues facing our society.

We have experienced an increase in drug use, coming from a lack of opportunities. Depression and self destructive nature of a parent leaves children directly in harms way. To help we have to develop economic opportunities for individuals, provide a pathway for the parents to achieve. Either through educational or vocational opportunities. We know that the most successful pathway out of poverty is education.
We know that soonercare is an effective program that allows for the routine maintenance of dental needs and medical issues facing our children. With the looming passage of SQ802 expansion of medicare we will need to work on a funding mechanism at the state level to make sure that the new requirements are met.After working with young men who were in the DOC's control the most impact method of lowering incarceration is by providing opportunities for work and education.Our foster care system suffers from a lack of funding and integration into our society. Foster children are often seen in a negative light. The unstable environment causes them to jump from home to home and school to school. Working with and partnering with individuals and advocacy groups in the state will be imperative for addressing the issues of foster care students in the juvenile programs.

I do not know an answer moving forward on how to fix this issue, but I am willing and open to working with those who do.
We know that children placed in our foster care or group care homes are exponentially more likely to experience ACE indicators. If possible allowing the retention of parental rights while providing education and training and therapy for the offending parent is in the best interest of the child.

To address this situation we have to work in partnership with our local commuinities to provide services for both the parent and the children. It is evident that those raised in broken/diminished homes will continue the trend when it comes to their own children.

To break the cycle, a stigma must be removed, and education and mental health services must be provided.
We know that one in five children raised in troubled homes or the foster care system will be homeless by the time they reach 18. Less than half of them will graduate high school and less than 3% will even attempt college.

This is an issue that has long term effects for our people, our towns and our government. Every student we loss to PTSD and ACE is an adult that will not be functional, that will lead to an increase in crime, an increase in drug use, and increase of expenditure to our state. To solve the issues facing these children you must work with the parents and the communities in which they live.
HD28ymchoate@gmail.comYasminda ChoateThe opportunity gap begins with impoverishment and lack of education to escape generational poverty. We must tackle this with subsidization of quality childcare and early childhood education programs to prevent children from failing to meet educational milestones. We should also increase funding to social programs that help to break the poverty cycle--job training programs for parents, funding to prevent food, housing, or utilities insecurity, and increased medical access.I support measures that engage parents with quality resources from the first day of pregnancy. Pre-natal care in Oklahoma is a serious concern--women who lack access to healthcare during pregnancy often do not have the resources they need to maintain the health and well-being of the child. Access to breastfeeding resources, nurse visits to the home during the early weeks of parenting, opportunities to take parenting classes to understand positive discipline, the importance of reading, and basic childhood nutrition benefit all of us. As a middle class, educated, white woman, I had access to all of these things when my daughter was born, and I fret for the thousands of children whose parents cannot access these resources.Yes. Research has demonstrated that quality early childhood education can help close some of the "gap" in later reading scores for children who grow up in lower income homes.I'm a proponent of "free" (taxpayer subsidized) college education. Oklahoma's Promise and federal grant programs are an excellent start. One significant accessibility factor for many rural students is lack of high-speed internet in their homes. I support state-subsidized high-speed internet installation in rural communities across the state. This small step would have a dramatic impact on how well students are able to access college by providing access to distance education courses to accommodate work and home schedules.This is such a complex question. Children experience generational, systemic trauma in addition to more personal traumas including abuse and neglect. The first step seems to be to quell the trauma created by factors that the "system" creates. This includes increasing access to social support programs like SNAP, subsidized housing, and healthcare. I also support increasing minimum wage to a living wage. The trauma induced by impoverishment is solvable. Once we can address the lowest rung on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, then we can start considering how best to offset the daily traumas of childhood like parental education classes and increased funding for social services agencies.Expand Medicaid. This will bring more healthcare funding into the state which will in turn bring more providers into the state to offer these services. Medical and dental access (and mental healthcare) in rural areas is frequently connected to a literal lack of doctors and other providers. Once these providers can actually make a living providing service in our rural areas, we anticipate increased access.Oklahoma incarcerates more women than anywhere else in the world. Many of these women are mothers. We must address, at the state level, lengthy sentences for non-violent offenses. We should also be considering expanding programs like drug court to ensure that offenders get the rehabilitation they need without alienating them from their families with incarceration.I am not currently qualified to answer this question as I do not know all of the policies benefiting children in foster care. My first step for improving such policies would be to read them all and consult with experts in the field. I believe in data-driven policy-making, and this begins with first researching and compiling the requisite information to make good decisions.Obviously, children should never experience abuse or neglect at the hands of a parent or caregiver. Unfortunately, we know that this happens daily. We also know that children remain attached to their parents even in the cases of heinous abuse and neglect. While some parents are callous and unrepentant, many are abusive and/or neglectful due to lack of understanding or knowledge of how to best care for a child. In these cases, every opportunity should be taken to restore the parent-child relationship while protecting the child. I don't think of this in terms of "preserving parental rights." I think of this in terms of preserving families. If the state can intervene to educate parents and supervise their interactions with their children as they learn to appropriately care for the children, this is in the best interests of the children.I am firmly committed to my opinion that children are, first and foremost, humans. I'm deeply concerned about policies and behaviors that treat children as possessions of their parents. For example, it is legal in this country to hit children as a means of discipline in schools and homes. While people caring for children in foster care are prohibited from striking these children, children of parents who approve of corporal punishment are unprotected. Similarly, the rights of parents not to vaccinate their children are supported despite the responsibilities of parents to prevent unnecessary harm to their children. I'd like to reframe the conversation about the care of children from one of "rights" to one of "responsibilities." I have a child of my own, and rather than think of what I have a "right" to do as her mother, I think of my responsibility toward her and toward the rest of society to rear a socially conscious, whole, and healthy person. I'd like this to be the basis of my conversations about child advocacy.
HD3lkiger.kpi@gmail.comLundy KigerMaking sure they get the education they need, food they need and support for education after common education. I support legislation to help ensure this happens.I've worked locally in developing services being provided to families in helping their parents learn what's needed in raising their children, services for drug and alcohol abuse and making sure they are in school. I support legislation to this affect as well.Pre-school is the most essential part for our children, along with parents aware of their responsibilities. As a former teacher I see Pre-school and K students who are able to read at higher levels due to the exposure of school.Continue the existing education programs for our lower income families with children and making college a real possibility as they grow up.I've spent a lot of time creating awareness and helped to bring in Sequel Care and their wrap around programs, counseling and services to Leflore County Families. I also served as founder and chairman of the Leflore County Coalition for Healthy Living.Support those in poverty to have access to Medicaid 2.0 or Medicaid through SQ 802.I believe we put too many in jail or prison in Oklahoma when education and rehabilitation is needed. I visit and talk to classes at a local Corrections facility and many of these men and women can be saved. Most grew up without families and hope.Making sure that every child is represented, cared for and monitored properly. Leflore County has seen an increase in fostering through our religious organizations. My wife and I have also fostered 4 children.Parents have total rights as long as they do what they are responsible to do and that's to keep their children safe and provide for their needs. I believe DHS is ineffective and in part due to the high case loads of each worker. We as a legislature need to properly fund and ensure that DHS is run properly in meeting the needs of our families and children.The only way you (state agency) can really understand what's happening on the ground in real time is to be here, see parents and children and see what's really real. Too many leaders never get in the field and out of their offices and have no idea to understand what a case worker is seeing or trying to do in helping children.
HD30mplawson23@gmail.comMark LawsonPrimary prevention and family supports are necessary. Continuing to partner with nonprofits across the state in early childhood development and intervention is critical. Identifying and supporting families early insures that children have the resources available to grow and thrive.Prevention vs the foster care system. Bolstering and protecting prevention programs that help families meet the needs of their children in the early years is far more compassionate, beneficial to the child/family, and far less costly to the state.Absolutely. Historically, Oklahoma has been the premier leader in early childhood development programs. We should be doing all we can to keep it that way.I believe Oklahoma’s Promise is a great opportunity to help families defray the cost college and will continue to support it.Prevention is key. Whether it is DHS, Parent Promise, the Parent Child Center of Tulsa, or any of the many other agencies who work with at risk families, we need to continue to prioritize prevention in our communities. Despite the wonderful work of our foster care system, disrupting children’s placement from their homes should be a last resort.I see this also as a prevention measure. I like the idea of a patient advocate in the soonercare system. Providing coverage to those that qualify is the first step, but having an advocate that can remind parents of appointments, yearly or biannual visits, and follow up calls to families would help children get the timely medical/dental care they need.HB1282 which was signed into law. I have also committed to run HB3214 again next year to keep kids out of adult jails.The state continues to make progress under the Pinnacle Plan, as we should. I would like to see Oklahoma develop some sort of continuum of care model that would help transition kids in the system (foster or OJA) so that we are able to more readily meets their needs. Further, I would like to see a shift that begins to focus more on prevention than on services once a child has entered the system.I personally believe in the efficacy of vaccines, but ultimately believe that health choices are for parents to make.Prevention, prevention, prevention. Reducing ACEs starts with keeping kids at home with the resources and supports they need to thrive.
HD34trishranson34@gmail.comTrish RansonWork for solutions to combat systemic racism in education, generational poverty and food insecurity in our state. This can be done locally as a liaison to the school district and city government but also as an ally at the capitol, working with legislators across the aisle and across the state for the mutual benefit of our citizens.The early years of a child's life is greatly impacted by the family unit. Working on policies that support families through affordable housing, income equality, food security and access to affordable child care. When we can support families in a way to decrease trauma incidents, the child will have a stronger foothold by the time they start school.As part of my education as a music teacher, I learned that a child's synapses fire at a peak rate at age 2. My experience teaching preschool children has confirmed this fact. I have taught preK classes instead of taking planning time simply because of my firm belief that I can get more taught and make a bigger impact in prek than any other age group. There is a fine line between fact and imagination in the pre-schooler's mind. This fosters creativity and makes connections that older students can't make. Early literacy, counting, rhyming, rhythmic work, gross motor skills are all factors that can help support learning later.The 21st century workplace is going to require more education and it's going to require critical thinking skills. Fostering STEAM instruction and moving away from standardized testing is important to training students in the skill set they will need to further their education. When it comes to cost, finding ways to support students in getting a college education, incentivizing first-generation college attendance and working on a pathway from trade school to apprenticeships to furthering education.Of the 10 trauma questions, half are personal experience and the other half are family-related. Working to create structures that support families and provide equity in income generation, access to mental health services, drug and alcohol rehab programs, criminal justice reform and anger management will pave the way to a decrease in trauma in a child's life. But we also need to focus on training in self-regulation for students, parents, police, and teachers. We need to make social education a positive part of a child's world.Expanding Medicaid is a great first step. By investing 10% in the health of our lowest earners, we reap a 90% return from federal funds. This will create thousands of health care jobs, which will increase access to medical care for all Oklahomans. When folks have easier access to health care, I believe that there will be less resistance to seeking health care. We need to train our citizens new to health care about the importance of preventive care, including dental care. Healthy workers are more consistent workers, which sets a healthy example for their children.We need to look at the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. Which individuals would better be served by drug intervention than incarceration? Which sentences need to be reduced so there is less disruption to the family unit? How are our laws skewed to treat women harsher than men? These are questions I have about our current system and I am open to work with fellow legislators on finding solutions that support our criminal justice system.I believe our current situation with foster care is linked to generational trauma and poverty and our ranking as the number one incarcerator of women. We need to make reforms to our criminal justice system while encouraging families to become foster families.This is an area I am not as informed as I would like to be. I am open to learning more on this subject.I thank you for this opportunity and for the work you do.
HD43info@kinet2020.comCassie KinetPrior answers would not have had COVID19 in mind. However, it is now pertinent more than ever that needs of children will be met due to the fact that every child will not have the same opportunities being with their parents rather than in school. It is of utmost important that ever child receives counseling and mental health services. Education must also be the same across the board. Oklahoma's schools are failing and that is due to lack of funding in our schools and the lack of access to internet. We have to ensure that all of our schools are adequately funded, have enough counselors to adequately meet students needs, and have the resources to provide quality education.I believe one of the most essential keys to improve the early years of a child's life is to provide services to identify health or mental problems that may hinder a child's education. By promoting these services, children would be able to learning mechanisms and get the proper care early on to assist them throughout life. I would also work to provide more services to assist parents who are struggling with the role as their child's first mentor and teacher. Finally I would ensure that preschool services are provided to all children rather than the lotteries and testing that is available now. Preschool is a very important part of childhood development and all children need access to it.YesFirst and foremost, offer more services to help teenagers understand how to fill out FAFSA paperwork. Over one million students have admitted they did not fill out FAFSA paperwork due to the fact the paperwork is so hard to understand. Since we do not have an adequate amount of counselors to student ratio there is not enough help for them to fill out that paperwork and that needs to be resolved. I would also encourage more online course options. These options are far more cost effective and can enable students to be able to afford college better.First and foremost, so much trauma is caused by our family court systems. Parents are not visitors. We need to ensure that the parenting schedule is 50/50 to reduce the amount of trauma of parenting "visitations." Every other weekend is not enough and the constant bickering between parents is devastating to children. Secondly, children must be heard. We need more counselors to be available to hear and believe children. Thirdly, our social service department is a disaster. It's overwhelmed, inadequately trained, and needs a complete rework.Any child who is not insured needs to be covered on Soonercare. We need to have representatives for Soonercare at our local health departments to help parents get enrolled. We need to also ensure that parents are able to understand the paperwork.If there isn't a victim there isn't a a reason for incarceration. There needs to be a massive overhaul on prison sentences. We can reduce the amount of people incarcerated by stopping egregious sentences on crimes that do not involve victims. Prison needs to be for people who hurt or harm others and cause massive damages to others.We need to make sure that adoptions are easier. Adoptions need to be more affordable. We need to make sure that these children have the same opportunities and most importantly they have the adequate mental health care services and counseling.If a parent has an egregious crime then they certainly deserve to lose their rights to their child. However, a child needs their parents and if they do not have a severe criminal record then they have full rights to their children and if separated from their partner need to have 50/50 custody of the children.Our state is the lowest ranked in so many categories regarding our children. I believe we need to look at every aspect from our family court system, our GAL's that are making decisions for children, the counselors hired by the court systems to make decisions, and the decisions all these people are making for kids. We also need to look at the special schools such as "Positive Changes," who do very little to make positive changes in kids, but rather alienate them from an adequate education, this can't continue to go on.
HD46nancyforstatehouse@yahoo.comNancy SangirardiEverything begins with education.First we need to address the "why" they do not have a good life to begin with and then we can see what needs to change to not only make "their" life better, but the life of their parent/guardian as well. ALL parents get overwhelmed at times, and some have support to deal with it, some do not. Some have better advantages, some do not. Some have a higher socioeconomic status which can afford them help for childcare, house cleaning, not working outside the home, etc, many do not. Some can afford for tutors, and summer school programs, some not only do not have the money, they do not have transportation to get their kids there and get them home due to their jobs. The divide keeps getting bigger from here on.Yes, in today's society, and in today's school system, there are certain skills that children need to know when they enter kindergarten now that they were not required to know even a generation ago. We were under the impression that the Kindergarten teacher taught them their ABC's, colors, basic intro knowledge. Now, it is expected when they enter kindergarten. They also need the socialization and skills to 'get along' with others that many only children have not learned. Pre-school teaches them this and the discipline needed when involved in groups, rather than just from a parent to a child.I taught at a Title 1 school and if any of my students really wanted to go to college, they got to go. Most used Oklahoma's Promise, or "Ticket to Rose". These kids were taught from Middle school what was needed, to go for virtually 'free' school after high school. I can honestly say, that those that wanted to go, and did not have the chance, did not apply themselves in HS and they admitted it to me when I asked them why they too were not going. Oklahoma needs to perhaps expand the Oklahoma Promise to include more than just tuition and try to add housing and or fees. For many when my kids went to school, tuition was just not enough. Now I do not think every kid should get a free ride to OU or OSU, because we have great Jr. Colleges here in Oklahoma and for the first two years they are a great 'starter' school. If the student truly wants to go to a University for the remainder of their schooling, they need to apply themselves as there are lots of scholastic scholarships available for transfers with a good grade average.My fear is for the children in foster care in Oklahoma. With the incarceration rate of women so very high, we have an abundance of children with no family to care for them. Our system is over crowded and we do not have enough families to care for these kids in the Foster program. We also do not have enough DHS workers to properly vett these families to make sure these kids are being properly cared for. A good home, plenty of food, opportunity for a good education are all things every child needs to be successful.Sadly, even schools have cut back with their school nurses and in my school they have given the conselors' the task of doling out medication to high school students because the nurse was there only half a day during the week. Everyone seems to pass the buck. Counselors hae enough on their plate without taking over the nursing duties, and I personally do not think they should administer medication. Free clinics for basic healthcare are needed in each county. Not something that requires urgent care, but shots, physicals etc and basic care for ill children. Perhaps one DR and one nurse in the county could do rotations to work the clinic and maybe see if the government has any grant money to help outfit the clinic to get it open? Just a thought to help those who do not have access.Reduce incarceration of whom? The mothers? Reading about our issues here in OK, it appears that women are given harsher sentences than men for the same crimes?? Cannot remember the article, but ankle bracelets and allowing the women to remain with their family but twice or three time weekly check-ins with parole officers or individual counselors could help out. Then, if they once again break the law, they have made their choices and they are forced to serve time. Lots of bad decisions have destroyed families and I am convinced that someone out there has an idea that can help these women before they get involved in a life of crime.WE must check out these families who sign up to be foster parents more thoroughly. We take these kids from the fire in to the frying pan. Working more with church groups might help and having enough DHS workers to check on these kids weekly is a must. The workers are overworked and sometimes do not come often enough to even see visible bruising or injuries from members of the foster family. If they cannot visit each one each week, they have too large of a caseload.Chaperoned visitation if the kids are in foster care is a must. If the parent is guilty of harming the children, the parents should have to go through many hours of counseling and classes before they are even considered for visitation or getting their children back. I have seen too many kids whose parents have manipulated them to lying about the other parent and the kids are fearful of either or both parents. These kids are used as pawn in relationships so it is a slippery slope to automatically give them rights when we do not know the full story about their treatment of their children.I am running on Family issues. I am convinced that other states may have other ways of dealing with the same issues we face and I am trying to garner that information to see how we can improve the lives of Oklahoma's kids and Oklahoma's families. As a teacher, I think I have see about everything, and it is not pretty. 16 years as an educator in Oklahoma with students living in cars, being pulled between two feuding parents in a custody battle, being forced to testify in court that one child saw their mom do something to their dad only to find out that the dad bribed them . . . every child has a story and we need to help them be kids again and have a bright future here in Oklahoma. Our kids break my heart.
17 Gipson-BlackIt begins with ensuring each child has access to a quality public education - no matter where he or she may live in the state. Too often, a child's aptitude is judged, and can even be set, by where he or she received a diploma. This is a fact that keeps children from rural, lower income, or minority communities from either seeking higher education or obtaining vocational skills in high school that would help in finding gainful employment after graduation.Again, it involves education and making sure all Oklahoman children are learning during the early and crucial years of their lives. This includes introducing children to foreign languages sooner then junior high or high school, arts programs to encourage expression in ways other than repressing feelings, acting out, or violence. It includes the state not being a parent, but helping the parent in its capacity as a quality education system.Yes. As I mentioned, it is no secret how important early years of a child's life are. Another important fact, aside from the benefits of a child, is that parents can save costs by not needing a babysitter for a full day, and it ensures their child is learning.It begins in each home as well as in each classroom. Aside from an individual student's drive to go to college, it is important that family and teachers reinforce not only the idea, but the possibility of success. Our public education system has an important role to play in this regard. I want there to be a massive college readiness initiative take place. One that shows students how accessible Oklahoma colleges are. However, it does not only focus on 4 year degrees. Oklahoma has thousands of high school students with their eyes set on things like the oil filed or trade jobs. This requires the state to recognize that and do something to help them as well. This includes opening pathways to vocational schools and expanding technology degrees at schools like OSU-Okmulgee. This is not some aim to saturate a job market with educated young people - it is a push to create a pipeline of an educated workforce who will go on to help us meet the greatest challenges of the new decade.There is much to done in this area, but we will reveal our state's values by the policies and programs we pursue. Our state has around 7,000 children in foster care - each of those children carry something from that experience. As person who was in the foster care system for two years, I understand. Childhood trauma goes beyond that, however. The first substantive initiative would include certified counselors in schools. This could be one person under contract with multiple school districts. A second would be in the area of state funded healthcare programs encouraging families to attend family therapy. A third would be some type of program to address the needs of children aging out of the foster system that would introduce them to both adulthood and the workforce or higher education.It begins with Oklahoma accepting its fair share of federal dollars for Medicaid expansion. Since the governor does not intend to expand the program, it will take bold and hard working Democrats to ensure it is implemented into law. Beyond that, this effort would involve making it easier for dentists to open practices in rural communities across the state.Letting people go free who are incarcerated for crimes involving marijuana is the place to begin. After that, much reform is needed when it comes to reducing incarceration rates for nonviolent offenders.Continue to reduce the need and funding for juvenile detention facilities and re-invest in case workers and things that truly benefit the child in their everyday lives.It is important that the state not interfere with a parent's right to take care of their own children. It is equally important that the state strongly advocate for that child's health and well-being as it cannot do that for itself. If a parent(s) is reported by a source deemed credible, like by a teacher or family member, or an onlooker who witnesses great abuse, then the state should be able to conduct some sort of investigation. The state has a dual role in ensuring the privacy of the parents while also advocating for the rights of the child.I was a foster child in the Oklahoma foster care system for two years and am thankful to have been adopted, along with my twin brother, into a loving family. It took many compassionate people to make that happen. I hope you will reach out to me and let me know how we can make sure each child in Oklahoma's foster care is blessed to have such compassionate people looking over them as well.
HD62dlpae95@gmail.comDaniel PaeOne way to help families with achieving upward mobility is restoring the earned income tax credit (EITC), which can help many families in Oklahoma. I co-sponsored legislation with Sen. Montgomery to not only restore the EITC, but also double its rate to ensure the most equity respective to other states.I believe the public health sector has an important role and responsibility to play when it comes to improving the early years of a child's life. We should focus on interventions for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, including for nutrition, mental health, HIV prevention and care.YesWe must ensure that Oklahoma's Promise continues to be supported for many families to take full advantage of it.Policymakers ought to continue to be educated on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and developing policies to address them.One way or another, our state's Medicaid program will be expanded this year, and I think this is an opportunity to ensure children have access to these types of services.One idea would be to emphasize parental proximity if a caregiver is sentenced, so that he or she is not too far for their children to visit them. Maintaining these familial relationships can help reduce recidivism in the long-term.I hope to continue serving on the Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee for Human Services to keep researching how the legislature can work with OJA on foster care issues.I support the status quo of allowing exemptions for personal or religious reasons.Child advocacy is a nonpartisan issue, and if I have the honor of serving two more years, then I look forward to continuing to work with OICA.
HD66lairdhd66@gmail.comGreg LairdCreate more opportunity for those born into less fortunate situationsCreate programs to give all children access to food, health care and education.Yes. Most definitelyCreate grants and low interest loan programs.Provide better education And counseling opportunities for parents.Move funds or raise taxes to create the funds.Lower minimum and maximum sentences. Repeal the 85% rule. Repeal enhancements for repeat offenders.Try to not remove them from the home in the first place. Beyond that, provide funding for more workers so each child can get more assistanceI believe parents rights should only be terminated in most extreme cases. Parents should be given every opportunity to keep their children and then get them back. I believe children are best served when they are with their parentsThere is so much to be done in this state for children that this survey does not give enough room for me to write it all. I would love to talk to someone.
HD68mike@ross4ok.comMichael RossThree steps I would take to create a more equitable state for our children would include working to close the wage gap by raising the minimum wage, working to provide healthcare to a greater number of Oklahomans, and working to increase equity across the state's public schools to ensure each child has an excellent education regardless of district or facility.One of the surest ways to help children thrive in their early years is to ensure stability in the home in what would be recognized as the base of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: by ensuring an actual living wage for the child's guardian(s), reassessing the state's laws regarding rental policies to ensure that renters have rights to lessen the threat of eviction and possible homelessness, and by supporting policies that combat the presence of food deserts, I believe that we can give our state's children a stronger foundation from which to grow.Pre-school is absolutely an essential part of the educational system.One of the steps that needs to be pursued in order to make college accessible to all students is to work to connect low income students to campuses where they can succeed. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister included the creation of a "counselor corps" in her budget proposal, which would allow school counselors the ability to combat the epidemic of "undermatching," which affects half of all lower socioeconomic status students. An Obama-era study showed that, by adding just one additional counselor to a high school campus, could increase four-year university attendance by 10 points, which would benefit lower SES students substantially.Oklahoma's children face a shamefully high number of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) compared to other states regionally and nationally – one in ten Oklahoma children will experience five or more ACEs before age 18, making us the leader in the US. To stem this epidemic, Oklahoma needs to invest more comprehensively in the Department of Mental Health, which deals directly with two of the most common ACES: this would address substance abuse in Oklahoma homes, which is among the most common ACE experienced by a child, as well as mental health issues affecting household members, which impacts almost two in ten Oklahoma children. Additionally, common-sense criminal justice reforms, such as reducing or commuting sentences for nonviolent offenders, can alleviate the trauma of growing up with an incarcerated family member.Much of our state's approach to providing better overall healthcare to our population as a whole is dependent upon passage of State Question 802. I've been a fervent supporter of Medicaid expansion since it first became a viable option, and, should it fail at the polls on June 30th, will seek to enact expansion through legislation in the next session.The commutation and reduction in sentencing for nonviolent offenses ought to be a priority in the fight for criminal justice reform and in keeping Oklahoma's families together, which is why the passage of SQ 805 is so important. Beyond this, I believe that it's important to end the cash bail system, which has been shown to effectively kneecap the defense of low-income individuals, putting families in economic danger while increasing the chance that an individual will be incarcerated.One of the common-sense approaches I support regarding OJA is the concept of justice reinvestment. The juvenile detention rate has trended down in the past two decades, which has led to reduction of the budget for OJA. Despite the budget failure presently facing our state, the smart investment would be to take any funds beyond present incarceration needs and invest them in providing services for these young people, who report higher levels of trauma and ACEs on the whole. I would also support pursuing the program outlined by Models for Change, which was shown to be effective in Louisiana, the state that previously held the record for juvenile incarceration.With respect to a parent's rights to raise their children as they see fit, the law reflects a social contract between all Oklahomans to keep each other safe – and, in the era of COVID-19, to allow misinformation rule the day is to violate that obligation. To this end, I do not support weakening laws regarding childhood vaccination, such as HJR 1040, which my opponent voted in favor of during the recent legislative session.One of the substantive differences that exists between my opponent and me is my unwavering commitment to public education. I have spent 15 years in Oklahoma's classrooms and currently work in a district with a high number of at-risk students. I also have an understanding of our constitutional obligation to provide a free public education to each Oklahoma child and have pledged to keep public money in public schools.
HD81info@jacobbaccus.comJacob BaccusTo begin we need to implement a Universal Early Childhood Care Plan. We must guarantee that every child has access to high quality child care wherever they live. This must be free when possible and always affordable. When parents are able to enroll their child(ren) in a quality care plan they are able to work and provide, giving everyone a better shot at a good life. When the Universal Early Childhood Care Plan expires we need to create a smooth through-way to a Universal Public Pre-K. This would continue to allow families to work and earn an income for their family while ensuring that children are taken care of and receiving a high quality, age-appropriate play based education. We have been missing the mark on early childhood education for too long. Research has shown that early childhood education promotes sociability, motivation, cognitive skills, attentiveness and more. These are the kind of tools, when learned early, that lead to happier, healthier and more productive lives.We need to make sure every child has access to quality affordable healthcare. We need Medicaid to cover the health care costs of all children from newborn to school age. Additionally, we need to make sure we give parents 12 weeks per parent for paid childcare leave, with additional time available for continued leave without fear of losing a job. This gives parents time to develop a bond with their child(ren) while also being able to provide for the family.YesWe must remove standardized tests. These kinds of tests are unable to take into account the various types of learners. Also, college must become more affordable. We can eliminate the cost of Tech Schools and Community Colleges, while ensuring that every state funded school remains affordable to every resident.Increase our public health access to include comprehensive physical and mental health solutions. Equip parents with the skills necessary to be successful at home and in their job. When adults have a good paying job and meaning in life they are more likely to feel less stressed and are less likely to be on edge when they get home. This is why we need to raise the minimum wage in Oklahoma to $12/hr.Complete Medicaid coverage for newborns to school aged children.It is past time that our state has meaningful Criminal Justice Reform. According to a 2018 report by the Prison Policy Initiative, Oklahoma’s incarceration rate is higher than any other state, surpassing Louisiana, and higher than most other nations.

The average incarceration rate as of 2018:
In the United States was 698 prisoners per 100,000 residents.
In contrast, Oklahoma was 1,079 prisoners per 100,000 residents

The way we chose to imprison people is just that, a choice. These choices disproportionately affect poor and marginalized communities. Our choices have led to our staggering incarceration rate. We imprison too many people! Drug crimes are by far and away the most common felony offenses in our state. Even with the 2016 referendum that reclassified minor drug possession and property crimes to misdemeanors Oklahoma still puts more men and women in prison per capita than any other state.

Other laws that were passed in 2018 that end some mandatory minimum sentencing “are expected to reduce only the growth in the rate of incarceration, not the rate itself, according to Kris Stelle, chairman of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform.” Clearly there is still much work to be done. It is not enough that we give people their freedom from unjust prison sentences, we must help them find jobs, get training and rehabilitate.

This is why I support the Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform’s stances to Reduce Incarceration, Invest in Alternatives to Prison, and Keep Families Together. According to Elizabeth Warren, “Real reform requ
ires examining every step of our system: From what we choose to criminalize, to how law enforcement and prosecutors engage with communities and the accused, to how long we keep people behind bars, how we treat them when they’re there, and how we reintegrate them when they return.”

We have to make choices that will reduce incarceration and improve how we seek justice in our state. We must clearly and definitively decide:
What we choose to criminalize
How we want our police and communities to interact
If we are serious about providing opportunities for rehabilitation
Whether we emphasize preventive justice or incarceration
Our Office of Juvenile Affairs is currently overworked and underpaid. This inevitably leads to children being overlooked or left behind. The OJA is currently doing the best they can with what they’ve got and that is why we need laws that ensure a properly funded OJA. We need a government that prioritizes children and their well-being.In every case that we can, we need to preserve families. This doesn’t mean however, that we should preserve families at the expense of children. I have seen one too many cases in which a child has been left with a family member only to experience harm. If a parent is unable to care for their child(ren) for any reason, we need to find other familiar responsible adults to care for those children for whatever time it takes for the parent to get better. Once a parent has demonstrated that they are able to care for their child(ren) then we must work with that family to try and reunite at a safe pace both for the parent and the child.It is past time that we stop teaching to tests and start teaching to children’s creativity and critical thinking. We need social emotional learning in our schools as well as play based learning, especially in our early childhood programs. This kind of education takes pressure off of everyone in the classroom and creates a much richer environment for learning.
HD83robertmcmasterforhd83@gmail.comRobert McMasterThe first is Healthcare. My Healthcare provides preventative care for every lower income Oklahoman. This would get more people to the doctor prior to illnesses in the effort to keep them healthy. The healthier they are would equate to more productive they are. This would help more people grow their income. The next part is school choice. More educational opportunities would allow more kids to get more opportunities to grow their capabilities of higher incomes and improve their chances of being middle income or higher.I want to improve the parks and recreational facilities around the state in an effort to give kids more opportunities to enjoy life. With the improvements to overall life from my healthcare plan, more parents and young adults will be able to make use of these parks as well. This would help grow the community together. This would also add the capability of the community to help combat mental illness.Absolutely. Pre-school provides a wonderful transition from daycare or home to school. I have had all my kids in pre-school and it has allowed my children to be ready for kindergarten.The Educational Savings Accounts in my Education plan are designed to make post-secondary education available for all our Oklahoman children. It will have the amount of per-child tuition spending invested into that account. It will also be available for parents and others to invest in it as well. These non-governmental investments will be eligible for ESA dividends every year. Once the child graduates, they can use it for whatever educational opportunity they wished to seek. It doesn't matter if it is college, vocational, technical, etc.It will take a multi-facet approach. My Healthcare and Educational plans will be a good start, but we must also address the Criminal Justice System. We need to look at our bail system to see how we can improve it. We also need to improve our response to mental illness. Our system needs to be more dedicated to rehabilitation. We can improve the quality of life in Oklahoma but we can only do it together.My Preventative Tax Credit for all lower income Oklahomans would allow for economic growth of our healthcare industry. This would create the capability to create more clinics, more staff and larger investments in clinics all over the state. These economic opportunities will lead to more state revenue to improve other areas of healthcare needs like mental health. This state revenue would also provide the possibility of increasing community programs like Work Ready Oklahoma.The system has to look to rehabilitation. Its not just about mental illness but also about generational issues like domestic violence. Programs like family strategies in downtown OKC look to assist families with the skills necessary to build strong family units. They also have programs for fathers as well as programs designed to increase the work readiness of these families. The best strategies to reduce incarceration are economical and healthcare related.The first thing is introduce cultural training. The cookie cutter mentality of all Juvenile divisions doesn't work with healing and reunification. The next issue is to understand why children are involved with Juvenile affairs or other child services. The next issue is how can we get to reunification and what steps can be taken to work on healing during the reunification process. Next, we have to increase mobility of the foster parents to allow more interactions with parents.The main response is education and knowledge. Parents must be allowed to access information regarding healthcare options. Doctors should make available all applicable information to parents to make the best educated decisions with regards to care for their child. We also need to create more social programs like family strategies to create more stable family units as proactive measure to combat domestic violence and other family issues.None
HD83info@chelseybranham.comChelsey BranhamFocus on resource access (healthcare, mental health, housing assistance, reunification, anti-incarceration rehab programs, etc) for vulnerable families and youth.Focus on access to healthy foods and nutrition, access to education, and the prevention of ACES.Yes. This is a critical time period in development, and providing a nourishing safe environment to stimulate brain development and growth are essential to long-term successful outcomes.Expand eligibility and simplify applicability to programs such as OHLAP.Focus on healthy and whole family initiatives, expand rehabilitation opportunities, and safety net programs for young families, and ensure more community awareness and education on recognizing and preventing domestic violence.Support the expansion of medicaid, work to minimize cultural and racial bias of healthcare workers, increase the availability of community-based health centers, expand prenatal care, and work to decrease the prevalence of other negative zip code indicators.Increase the availability of funding for redirectionary programs TEEM, Remerge, Women In Recovery, etc. to enable individuals to get the community resources and rehabilitation programs to increase successful family outcomes and reduce recidivism.Attempt to revise harmful policies that unfairly target black and brown families and children disproportionately; work to improve programs to provide wrap around support for families working to reunify with children; eliminate the resource gap for unaccompanied homeless minors, and youth aging out of foster care.Our current statutes do not have provisions to eliminate penalties for violations due to inequity (neglect due to poverty/inability to access resources; failure to protect in domestic violence situations, which separates countless children from mothers after they try to escape abuse; etc). Similarly to the bias and injustice inherent in the social work field that leads to removal of black and brown children disproportionately instead of helping to address the resource needs of the children, the current child welfare statutes can lead to unjust criminal outcomes and separation of families. There should certainly be harsh penalties for those willfully harming or maliciously enabling the harm of children, but the current statute needs revision to account for these situations, especially to protect in circumstances where the judge is not educated on the intricacies of domestic violence, cultural and racial bias, resource poverty, etc.I feel that my legislative endeavors and continuing community advocacy work imbue my views on the necessity of child and family advocacy.
HD87walkelaw@gmail.comCollin WalkeIn an ideal world, I would ensure that we are adequately funding our core governmental services. However, since Oklahoma is extremely unlikely to increase revenue into the state for the foreseeable future, the most practical solution would be to increase access to technology through increasing internet access in this state.I will continue to support programs that address ACE issues and that promote early childhood education programs.Absolutely!Until fairly recently, college students covered 1/3 of college costs and the state would pick up the balance. However, due to budget cuts, that number has become inverted. As a result, I would look for ways to increase funding for students; and if that were not possible, then I believe that we should increase the number of counselors in schools to assist with the college admissions process, as well as to assist in the location and obtaining of scholarships.This is obviously a complicated question with no magic solution. The key, in my opinion, is to increase community services and programming through our local governmental entities like local county health departments.Again, budgetary constraints limit the immediate ability for governmental intervention on the side of more funding. As a result, we must partner with local governments and non-profits to ensure that those in need (a) know where to obtain help and (b) the mechanisms to have those costs covered by Soonercare or other payors.Oklahoma has made many great strides as of late in this regard. I believe we must implement mental health courts to every county in this state. The cost savings alone would pay for the programming.Anytime I am considering a policy issue, I contact those entities that would be affected. Too often, politicians do not actually go to the experts on these issues. Therefore, I would contact those entities involved in order to obtain their perspective on what needed to change and why.This is extremely important, and I have had legislation signed into law to do just this. Avenues for reunification must remain open, but they must be appropriately supervised.Oklahoma can improve its poor statistics regarding childhood trauma, and it can be done. "All of us, need all of us, to make it."
HD94fcromack@gmail.comFrank Paul CromackEnsure that they Funds and Government Proograms that exist are providing the assistance they should be or replacing them with ones that will.Seek to end any injustices and provide the next generation with the same opportunity America provided for me, a safe environment where children can Thrive, not just survive.Education begins well before Pre-School and having participated in the Character First! Outreach program with the OKCPS system have already seen first hand how important and essential Pre-School is in the education system.Ensure that what Existing Government programs are working to fulfill the future needs of children who seek Higher-Education and Technical/Vocational Training.As a Survivor of Childhood trauma the biggest issue I can recall is how many "Blind-Eyes" were turned at our situation by all forms of Government and Religious Institutions.

Before we can fix the childhood trauma issues in Oklahoma people must first accept that the issues exist, then act to change the future so that we can ensure a better future for Oklahoma's next generation.
By always keeping the children who lack such services in mind while working on legislation that has the opportunity to assist in these endeavors to provide Medical and Dental care for ALL Oklahomans.By addressing the obvious bias Oklahoma Law has in defending 1st-5th time offenders with fines.

Incarceration should always be reserved for those People deemed in a Court of Law to be unfit to be allowed to circulate amongst the population.
By ensuring that Proper Oversight of facilities and "Foster-Care" parents is held to the highest of standards. Not the Governmentss minimal effort and lowest cost options.Parental Rights are without question an American standard.

But with Abusive and Neglectful parents destroying their own children's future someone has to "See" the issues and be willing to stand for Justice.
Criminal Justice Reform is a very tricky area to navigate without offending someone for the sake of "The Accused".

Someone has to draw a line in the sand.
HD94andy.fugate@gmail.comAndy FugateThe list is long, but it can be summed up this way. I'm working to make government work again for ALL Oklahomans. In my first election, I became very disheartened as I spoke to person after person who told me they had given up. Government may work for some people, but it didn't work for them. They told me nobody even came to talk to them and that I was the first person in years who had made time to visit them.

It's our job as elected officials to make government work for *everyone* - not just those who are connected, powerful, or wealthy. Nothing underscores this more than the disaster the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) created for the hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans who found themselves out of work. Due to OESC arrogance and incompetence, they also found themselves out of luck.

The nation's overall unemployment rate may be 14%, but Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that 40% of households making $40,000 or less lost their jobs in the 2020 economic collapse. That 40% represents the economic reality for my district and so many other places in Oklahoma. Those families face losing everything they've built so far.

I've been calling across my district reminding people that I'm here to work for them. If they need help, we're getting them help. If they are doing okay, I've asked them to spread the word to anyone they know that does need help.
I'm focused on two critical areas: (1) Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), and (2) Mental Health / Substance Abuse.

Sadly, Oklahoma leads the nation in ACEs. Is it any wonder our children grow up to be distrustful and self-medicating? They are busy trying to survive.

I support ACEs initiatives in our schools to help teachers identify and understand. Equally as important, I support training to provide strategies to reach these kids where they are and to build resilience.

ACEs resilience is also why it's crucial to keep Oklahoma's teachers in the classroom. It's heartbreaking that Oklahoma has as many certified teachers no longer teaching as we have certified teachers in our classrooms. We don't have a lack of certified teachers. We have tens of thousands of certified teachers who have turned their backs on the profession. They have effectively told our state's leaders, "You cannot pay us enough to keep working under the conditions YOU have created for us in our classrooms."

Pay is important, but it all starts with respect for our teachers.

Regarding Mental Health and Substance Abuse issues, I have been pressing for Oklahoma to invest in these areas. SQ 781 said we are to spend the money the state saved by decriminalization. The estimated savings were $63.5M in 2018 and another $35M in 2019. To date we have not invested an additional penny. Not only are we disregarding the direct will of the people, we are perpetuating the very conditions that have caused today's problems.
Yes.The key to accessibility is affordability. When I was in high school in the 1980s, 75% of the funding for Oklahoma's public institutions of higher education came from the state. Back then, I was able to pay for school by working a part-time, minimum wage job during the school year and full-time during the summers. Today, the state's contribution is less than 25%. As a result, students leave school with staggering debt, regardless of how much they work.

Restoring that ratio requires at least two separate initiatives. First, it requires substantially more investment by our state. Second, it requires our colleges and universities to rein in profligate spending.
1) Expand mental health and substance abuse services.

2) Supplement school counselors with licensed mental health counselors. Both are vital to address the challenges facing Oklahoma's youth.

3) Expand the use of rural schools as the focal point for access to social safety-net services. Schools are among the most widely distributed institutions in our state. They are also frequented more often by families with children than any other local institutions.
1) Require all companies that receive state tax credits to provide health and dental care for their employees, with full subsidies for the employee and kids.

2) Require private health insurers to report and investigate insurance fraud by providers. The cost of fraud drives up costs for everyone. Today, private health insurers make their money as a percentage of the cost of health care. As a result, they have little incentive to keep health care costs down.

3) Pass SQ 802 to help keep rural hospitals open.
It starts with an investment in mental health and substance abuse services. DOC estimates that 60% of those in prison are incarcerated because of untreated mental illness.

Untreated mental illness and substance abuse create victims of all family members. Even when it doesn't lead to incarceration, it causes monumental difficulties including lost jobs, domestic abuse - both physical and mental, food insecurity, broken households, etc.

Investing in statewide services at the county level will reduce incarceration. It will restore families. Most importantly, it will provide safer environments for children in these homes.
I supported bills this past session to prevent minors from being housed with adult inmates and to provide additional training and options for foster families.

However, this is an area where I need to learn more to be more effective in leading, rather than following.
There are no easy answers here. Each statutory change needs to be examined separately and critically. We also need to make sure we include well-informed advocates as we work to address these issues.It's vital that we put the safety and well-being of children first in every decision we make on their behalf.
HD95knoelj127@gmail.comKelly AlbrightCreating equity, especially for our Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other marginalized children must be approached through the lens of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. When basic needs such as safety and food are not met, everything else above it on the hierarchy will lag behind. Creating economic equity through initiatives like a livable minimum wage, affordable housing, access to quality health care, food security, reliable transit, access to a high quality education are all foundational pieces of the puzzle. Before those things are accomplished, all other measures at creating opportunity will fall short. Beyond that, it is a gargantuan task, but efforts at ending mass incarceration and improving equity in education are particular passions of mine and I have authored legislation on both issues.With no paid family leave and out-of-reach childcare costs, many families and children start out at a disadvantage right out of the gate. Statistics show that when one or more parents are able to stay home with a child in the first year of its life, health outcomes improve, mental health for parents improve, leading to a parent being better equipped to handle the challenges and change of bringing a child into the world. Also important to note that having the ability to stay home for a significant length of time is associated with increased instances of successful breastfeeding, which has positive health implications for parent and child. I have authored legislation and conducted an interim study on paid family leave as well as authored legislation to support parents who choose to breastfeed. Also important to address are access to prenatal health care and nutrition, addressing the implicit bias that results in Oklahoma’s extremely high infant and maternal mortality, and environmental factors like pollution that can negatively impact prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal health.As the only member of my caucus traditionally and comprehensively trained on early childhood education, of course I see the importance of pre-school. However, it is essential that we examine the implications that despite being a state with one of the most accessible pre-k programs with high participation, graduation rates and test scores do not reflect this advantage long term. The gains that pre-k provide are often lost by only 3rd grade in Oklahoma. We must not rest on our laurels or wring our hands, but ask ourselves what pieces of the puzzle are we missing that result in such a loss. Also important to note that as we have gradually pushed for earlier and earlier entry of children into public schools as a result of expectations of high stakes testing, we have raised the bar far beyond developmentally appropriate standards for our children, and we have done a disservice to the ways in which young children are scientifically shown to learn: through play.First of all, a broader scope of possibilities should be welcomed for those finishing high school, such as trade schools, vo-tech, apprenticeships, junior colleges, and other avenues in addition to traditional four-year universities. While a college education is wonderful, it shouldn’t be the only way young adults are encouraged to better themselves and prepare for the future. That being said, over the past several decades, state funding for colleges and universities has been on a steady plummet to the point that the state pays hardly any part at all. This change has resulted in colleges being forced to pass the cost on to students, which is unconscionable when it has led to a generation of adults with ballooning student debt they may never pay off. Restoring state funding for higher ed is the right thing to do to amend this. As common education had been thought to be the universal equalizer in building a safety net for society in years past, higher ed has become the standard, yet is out of reach for too many.Oklahoma is one of the top in the nation for adverse childhood experiences. I can attest to this fact from my experience in Oklahoma City Public Schools, seeing the effects of trauma in my students on a daily basis. Poverty is a high stressor that leads to negative outcomes in well-meaning families. I can also attest to the fact that when I am personally stressed, I am not the best parent I can be. I can’t imagine the daily burden of constantly being stressed about basic needs while caring for other tiny humans. Working multiple jobs just to keep the lights on and put food on the table is no way to live, and no wonder so many are not able to thrive. Providing supports to families so that they are able to thrive is a good starting point. As mentioned above, when basic needs aren’t met, it is impossible to move up the hierarchy to fully realize ones potential. Providing access to affordable housing, a livable wage, high quality jobs, health care, high quality education, reliable transit, mental health services, and providing resources in lieu of mass incarceration are what will move the needle in reducing trauma in our state. Bottom line to remember: hurt people will hurt people. Healing is what is needed for our state.Medicaid expansion is the first step. A huge number of uninsured or underinsured in our state are children. They have no agency in this and are at the mercy of their parents, who are likely struggling to get by on a meager paycheck or limited job prospects. Providing access to high quality jobs including benefits for family members and a livable wage, affordable housing, reliable transit, high quality education, access to health care providers and mental health services—any of this sounding familiar yet? All of the ills of our state are intertwined, and the solutions have a common thread: we must take care of the most vulnerable among us. Health care is a human right, yet every day Oklahoma children suffer or die due to lack of access to life-saving medical care.This is a huge problem for our state and our children. I authored a bill, HB 2019, that would provide for pre-trial release of primary caregivers when there is not a significant physical threat, as well as post-conviction options that center on access to services and treatment over incarceration, in an effort to keep families together when safe and possible. We have had for DECADES the highest incarceration rate of women, without batting an eye until very recently. We have an over-burdened foster care system, where we have taken away so many children, but not enough people available and willing to care for them. This should be criminal, what we do to children in this state. Studies have shown that no matter how resourced and loving a foster/adoptive home is, there is nothing that can undo the trauma of being separated from ones parent(s). Whenever possible, steps at rehabilitating, supporting, and educating parents should be the norm, before punitive measures. I guarantee you that most of my teaching colleagues will agree, especially those experienced in teaching marginalized communities, that parents send us their very best every day. They may fall short, mostly due to factors outside of their control, overwhelmed with their own trauma, but they are doing their best. It is beyond time we acted with empathy and collective understanding that we are responsible for each other. That means if someone is struggling, we don’t assume it is due to their own personal shortcomings, but because we as a community have more work to do to support them and help them reach their potential, for the sake of all children.I have worked with colleagues on measures working to serve homeless youth, but this is an area I am interested in learning and doing more. Foster care serves an important role, but since it has been swamped with children, and working on limited resources, it has not been as effective as anyone would hope. It is undoubtedly a hard job, but limiting those who enter foster care and instead directing resources to initiatives that would help support families before child removal is necessary is a first step. I know the willingness is there with the leadership in DHS, so I hope to see us start to move the needle. With juvenile affairs, again, hurt and traumatized youth will hurt and cause harm. We must look at the root causes and what needs are not being met to cause the behavior. Once children enter the juvenile justice system, it becomes exponentially likely that they will fall into the adult system, and so diversion should be the first priority. I would like to see more restorative justice practices for juveniles, rehabilitation and counseling, as well as other supports like job training, filling education gaps, and social services that mitigate their involvement in the justice system. Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men,” and this has been my mission in life as a teacher and legislator.I touched on this earlier, but we must again look at root causes for the harm parents sometimes cause. Usually they are in a desperate circumstance that most of us cannot even begin to fathom. Asking of parents, “What happened to you?” instead of “What is wrong with you?” is a starting place we should always strive for. We should move away from a punitive mindset and towards a holistic approach of providing needed services and supports. I’d also like to point out the harm in the law commonly known as “failure to protect.” We penalize parents, often women, for being victims of abuse, and the abuser frequently sees a lesser punishment than the one “failing to protect” a child. I authored legislation to amend this issue, but did not receive a committee hearing. Of course, protecting children is and should be a priority, but we must assess the ways we do that and be sure in doing so, we are not actually doing more harm in the long run and all around.This is more of an aside and thought experiment, but I have been struck by the fact that in our society, children have the fewest rights and agency over their own lives than any other group of people, and they are the only group of people for which it is not socially taboo to say one hates them. With regard to education, people often put all of the onus for educational outcomes on teachers, without remembering that children, who have little control over their lives, have motivations of their own. With regard to parenting, people often put all of the onus of developmental growth and protection on mothers, without remembering that every child is different and there is frequently another parent who should be equally responsible for their child’s growth and protection. There is also an interesting point to be made that as we as a society have created this fear of strangers, in efforts to protect them, but children have lost the ability to learn and grow in unsupervised spaces as they had the flexibility to do in generations past. There is a necessary growth that happens when children are allowed to take small healthy risks, and this opportunity is missing from society today. Even on the playgrounds of schools, any activity that might result in even any small injury is forbidden. Not to say we should let children roam the streets unsupervised and run amok from birth, as we can see how that might easily devolve into the Lord of the Flies. However, I think this lack of growth opportunity and lack of agency should be explored as we endeavor to better the lives of children and work to solve the problems they face.
HD99porterforhouse99@gmail.comSusan PorterOpportunity is available to all but not given to all. In order to close the gap for millions of children we have to address the fundamental needs of children. Education is important and our focus needs to be within schools to help prepare those children for a future that looks different than the life they currently live. We need more programs for families to help provide resources, job creation, and exposure to the many opportunities available to them.Early childhood education and healthcare. Helping families understand the value of regular dental visits, doctor appointments, eye exams. We need more free programs for parents and children to attend together to not only address their needs but expose them to other benefits they would not have access to otherwise.Yes. It is the foundation for educationWe can expand Oklahoma Promise income levels to provide more opportunity to families to send their children to school.Children's mental health must be a priority. The trauma that our children experience within their homes, if they are removed from their home and placed into foster care, trauma at school, all lead to the stress and unfortunately can lead to suicide. We must review the policies that are currently in place, recognize the needs that our children have and work within the systems to provide better and more resources.Expand Medicaid services. We also need more health and dental facilities in low income and minority areas.We incarcerate non violent offenders instead of utilizing rehabilitation programs that would amend the behavior but not break up families. We have one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation. Children are taken out of the homes and place in foster care or the family is broken and instead of two parents, there is one. This leads to loss of income, added stress and concern for the safety of children in Oklahoma.Whenever possible children should remain with family and if they are not able to remain together, they should not only know where their siblings are but have an opportunity to continue to spend time together. The family bond can continue this way and make the transition better.Children are the priority. We can examine how parental rights interfere with the well being of the child when it does concern their safety. If intervention is necessary then we must keep the welfare of our children.Our children are often neglected and left behind. We fail to recognize the needs of children as it pertains to their education, health and family life. We must be able to advocate for those who do not have a voice. Children are taken from their homes and placed in worse situations or left in their homes with no support or resources to help aid them.
SD15Matt@hecoxforoklahoma.comMatt HecoxI would support an increase in funding for common education, higher education, and Career tech.I would support expansion of early childhood education programs.YesI believe we should increase the funding for higher education / Career Tech programs. Both are critical to the future of Oklahoma.I believe that we should increase the number school counselors that we have in our public schools.I would start with expansion of Medicaid. We are already paying these taxes, but our tax dollars are being sent to other states instead of coming back to Oklahoma.I believe we need to continue on our path of criminal justice reform.By letting them know we care about them and we are invested in their future.Parents have rights, BUT making sure the children of Oklahoma are protected from any injury, harm or disease in the most important.I am a public school teacher and I work with our youth every day. Our children are the future of Oklahoma and we must invest in their education and health care. Oklahoma's children need more resources.
SD17sadlerforsenate@yahoo.comGreg SadlerI would like to get government out of the education business.I would like to give parents back the right to educate their children in whatever way they see as best.YesI'd like to see the government removed from the student loan process and make universities compete amongst themselves.I would limit the amount of government intervention so children can live peacefully with their families.Remove government regulations from the medical industry so that prices come down.I would reform our criminal justice system by not incarcerating people for victimless crimes.We need to focus more on the mental health of children and their parents and less on the punishment of victimless crimes.Whenever possible I believe a child is best served by living with their family.In general we need to focus on mental health and less on government regulations.
SD17senatorsharp@gmail.comRON SHARPPre 3 to Pre 4 education opportunities.Improve and fund OSU Home Extension and mental health counseling services to mothersYes!
As a 38 year retired teacher I recognize the benefits of Pre-3 and Pre-K education to our children.
The concurrent enrollment of high school students should be fully funded. Also, the Oklahoma tuition frew program extended to qualified high school graduates.Providing elementary counseling and private counseling services if determined necessary. I authored legislation to immediately report child abuse.That issue will be decided on June 30, 2020 with Medicaid Expansion. If it does not pass, Sooner Care must be extended to provide medicare care to our children in distress.Criminal justice reform has been on my radar since elected in 2012. Parents released from prison should be monitored very closely to insure the safety of their children.Yes!
I have authored legislation that allows the OJA access to the mental health records of children in their custody.
I authored in 2015 the Non Custidial Parental Visitation act to provide all parents are engaged in the mental health development and rearing of a child.All effort should be affirmed to assure our children in Oklahoma are provided the best of public education.
SD21info@rick4ok.comRick DunhamThe most common factor for student success is parental involvement. The question then is how can we build an adequate work/life balance that provides parents with the opportunity to personally spend time investing in their childhood education.

I'm an advocate for exploring options on adjusting the standard work week to 4 days a week, allowing parents to spend that extra time with their families.

In addition, I support building a diverse and resilient economy in the state. Closing the opportunity gap for millions of children left behind requires financial investment into their success. Oklahoma currently lacks this capability because we're subject to a continuous cycle of boom and bust in our state's economy.
Expand access to public option pre-K education and expand investment to healthcare access to children through SoonerCareYesReform the post-secondary education pipeline. Looking beyond the cost of college itself, many students are priced out taking tests like the ACT or SAT, including the classes offered that prep students to take these tests.Investment into education is more than just investing in teachers. It includes attracting, training, and retaining professionals like guidance counselors and mental health professionals.

Again, this requires the state currently lacks the capability to provide.
Beyond what I've already mentioned, I think a program that provides no-interest loans to doctors and dentists looking to open a practice in rural areas is important. It costs upwards of $750K for a dentist to open a practice, and with that kind of investment, dentists aren't able to build a client base that allows them to make a return on that investment in rural areas.This question has many layers and "peeling the onion" on this could take a while, but one thing that I think is important is to invest in robust sex education for middle and high school students to reduce unintentional pregnancy. Many children who experience trauma at home come from parents who give birth at a young age and lack the financial stability to begin raising a family.Frequently, children in foster care or placed under the oversight of Juvenile Affairs end up in a "prison pipeline" that all but ensures a non-law abiding future...and leads to increased incarceration rates down the road.

Part of the problem here is a general failure in our approach to criminal justice. Oklahoma relies on for-profit prisons to house many criminal offenders. That said, I believe the ultimate goal of criminal justice is to reduce crimes (and therefore, reduce incarceration)...yet for-profit prisons require incarcerations to stay in business. I believe reducing incarcerations starts with reducing crime, which requires eliminating private prisons.
First, I'll return to my answer on robust sex education to reduce unintentional pregnancy.

Second, I'll note that the parental rights, or any right for that matter, starts with the assumption that failure to follow the law comes with a loss of rights via due process.

That said, protecting children from injury, harm, or disease from abusive households is in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. The child-rearing alternatives that exist, such as foster care, aren't much better or possibly even worse than leaving children in abusive situations.

There are many private, and frequently religiously affiliated, foster care options but expanded oversight of these organizations is necessary.
All of these answers are dependent on having the funds available to implement them. Oklahoma's economic outlook does not look good for the next few years and ensuring we have the revenue to invest in the kind of recommendations I've provided goes beyond the term limits we set for legislators.

As a State Senator, my number 1 focus is providing the next person in the seat with the opportunity to successfully implement these recommendations. Current and past legislatures have failed in the effort to set a financial foundation that allows us to address these problems. Failing to provide the next generation of elected officials with the opportunity to commit funds to address these issues is on me. I'll never forget that.
SD28hainesforsenate@gmail.comMichael HainesI believe that schools should be smaller than 2700 students in total. Studies have shown that the shorter the distance from student to administration (by tape measure) the better at-risk kids perform. Schools above 2700 cost more than smaller schools per child and they provide less support and poorer outcomes. I also believe that parents should have the ability to get scholarships and choose better schools throughout the district. Scholarships also provide motivation for achievement and not just changing zip codes. Booker T Washington is a perfect example of success in education among at-risk children.To improve early years, you must improve parenting. Parents are integral to the development of children. They need a stable attachment to caring loving parents. Children can overcome most any socioeconomic deficiency if they have a healthy attachment within a stable environment. When they do not have that healthy attachment and stability, almost no socioeconomic change can help them.Yes and No. I am concerned about the amount of time children spend away from their parents and in an environment where institutions press certain things into children. I understand that we want to educate children earlier and earlier, but my problem is that I don't trust external systems for that. I would feel more encouraged in this, if parents had a choice of where to take the children, whether private or religious organizations. I do not want the public schools in that business.I believe that we need better mentoring in college. It is not enough to give money for classes. We need to have goals, achievement milestones and mentors in order to guide a young man or woman through college. I believe that Oklahoma scholarships and grants form the state need to be semester and achievement based. Today a kid can fail out of college and lose forever, access to college tuition aid. Instead, we should notice when a kid is not mature enough for college, let them go out and work for a year or two, and then be ready to welcome them back into the scholarship/grant programs like Oklahoma's promise.

I would also emphasize that success in college is often determined by the development of study habits in the seventh and eighth grades. A young person must be grown into success. I believe that we have de-emphasized study habit training, we have taken young people out of the summertime work force and we are not training them for success later in life. My father was once told that he was too hard on his boys. He responded, "I'm not raising boys, I[m raising men." Everything we do in school needs to be about the education of our young people. Sports train for future life. FFA trains. Band, study hall, behavioral standards all point to the future of that young person. Our schools teach that authority in the classroom is non-existent. How well will that work in college or the workplace? I know the question was about access, but being able to attend college and receiving a college education are very different things.
We must begin helping parents with addiction assistance as well as parental assistance. We need to be able to find families where the children have high ACE scores and intervene to change behaviors and homes. I am not talking about a big brother DHS system, but community based outreach. We could use community organizations such as churches and other groups including the tribes to aid in parental mentoring and assistance. We need to look at ACE curriculum for the schools to catch kids with high ACE scores and assist them in knowing that it is not normative. We need increased mental health assistance in Oklahoma. This is an area where the tribes could be very helpful. As a pastor I will tell you that I have had almost no good outcomes from Red Rock. That system is broken. We must tap into private mental health and assistance. Organizations like the George Kaiser foundation would be helpful in these areas.Oklahoma needs to allow nurse practitioners to practice as primary in Oklahoma. We need to increase tort reform to lower the cost of insurance for medical professionals. We need to ensure that rural hospitals can be profitable by making sure that the medicaid and medicare reimbursements are in line with costs. We need to allow community organizations to have the ability to hold immunization drives, and wellness visits. We need to fund Soonercare 2.0. We need to allow health insurance competition across state lines and remove many of the Obamacare regulations that ran up the cost of insurance.Oklahoma needs to have a system much more in line with Texas where those who are convicted of drug offenses are given a route to mental health, addiction counseling or prison. Prison is the least effective and desirable for Oklahoma citizens but without it, there will be no motivation for mental health or addiction counselling. A person must find bottom to stand on their own when they are addicted. Helping them find bottom is positive, not negative.I believe that we must begin involving more community organizations in these areas. We have group homes that are often devastating to children. Churches, tribes, and community groups want to help and love these kids, but today, they feel very cut out of the process and unwelcome. I realize and understand that for the state, it is dangerous to involve these groups, but if we don't find ways to do it, the costs will overburden the state and we will continue to stay right where we are. We need to ensure that kids have safe homes to go to. And we need to provide ways to have more mentor help.I believe that there needs to be more assistance and less intrusion. We need to be willing to pull children when they are in harms way. We need to be willing to have community organizations like churches and denominations come along side the state in helping these children. If parents get cut out, or if the state takes parents rights too readily, we will have the same problems on the other side of abuses and problems. Parents are the essential aspect of the family. Our job is to help them, come beside them and grow them, not cut them out.I believe that if Oklahoma wants to have a high achieving state, we need to start at the earliest age possible providing stable healthy homes. We do not need to cut parents out of that equation, in fact, without fully engaged parents. it will never work. I have spent a great deal of time studying the effects of ACEs and a lack of healthy attachment in our children's lives and it is costing taxpayers billions of dollars to ignore this problem.
SD3blake.cowboy.stephens@gmail.comBlake Cowboy StephensI believe it is imperative that we address this gap from a multifaceted angle, starting with well-funded and equitable education for the children of Oklahoma, regardless of their zip code or the income of their families. As a passionate supporter of public education, when elected I pledge to earnestly support all education related legislation that will further shrink the gap for any children currently being left behind. Clearly, the opportunity gap is large and will require well planned policy measures beyond the realm of just education issues. I am open to learning about and supporting other areas that will support equity for the children of the state of Oklahoma.As a lifelong educator and school counselor, I embrace the importance of setting children up to succeed in life from the get-go. I believe that quality early childhood education is imperative as a building block for success in our society. It is also critically important that we do a better job as a state of addressing the trauma that many of our children and their families are facing daily. The work being done by the Potts Family Foundation to develop integrated approaches to formulating plans at the community level involving multiple stakeholders is a tremendous way for our state to begin to improve the early years of a child’s life. I will lend my support as a Senator and a community member to all efforts to improve the challenges our children face.Absolutely. That's where I hang my hat everyday! I'm a School Counselor for PK3 through 1st Grade at Locust Grove Early Learning Center.I don’t have any formalized plans on this topic, but am open to learning from others that do.As mentioned earlier, the community model of trauma task-force work carries tremendous potential and I would love to support this effort becoming more mainstreamed across the state. Involving schools, healthcare providers, mental health and wraparound service agencies, city policy makers, and law enforcement is a key step in the right direction. I would like to see our state policy making integrated into this effort as well.I don’t have the answers, but I believe the outcome of the upcoming state question for Medicaid expansion will provide us with a better framework to move forward as a state with plans to accomplish this goal. By knowing what we have to deal with as far as baseline resources, we will be able to move forward from there.This is a difficult task to answer well in a survey. If we increase focus on the prevention of trauma, improving education resources and improving wraparound services for our communities, it will be a good start to eventually reducing our high incarceration rates. I am open to learning more about others’ ideas in this area.I believe it is important to listen to and learn from those that are experts in this field. I would be open minded to using what I learn from experts in this area to help improve policies for children in these situations.This is a difficult question and I appreciate you asking it. I believe there is the possibility of achieving a balance in the system to do both and it’s imperative that we continue to find solutions that can improve this balance. I believe that when developing policy, it is important to include the viewpoints and voices of all stakeholders instead of a bunch of politicians deciding for people what is best for them. I do not have my own plans developed in this personal arena, but would be open to supporting efforts to find the right balance between the two.Elected leaders have an opportunity to work alongside the child advocacy experts to be another voice for those who have no champions in their corner. From education, to healthcare, to trauma – we have an obligation to take in information from ALL stakeholders impacted by policies we create or sign off on, not just the ones we feel most comfortable listening to. I pledge to have an open door and an open mind to work in tandem with local and state leaders in this field to support their work.
SD35MorrisseyForStateSenate@gmail.comLinda MorrisseyEqualize the student funding formula. Encourage online learning opportunities through transparent and well regulated non-profit programs. Extend, encourage participation in, and support pre-K programs. Build / Extend high speed internet infrastructure to enable online learning access to all rural and urban schools. Incentivize parent-to-child reading programs in the public library system. Incentivize hiring and training of Spanish speaking elementary school counselors to improve parent contact/participation.Our goal should be to make available a pre-school program for all children at three years of age.My experience over 25 years as a District Judge put me in contact with hundreds of individuals and family situations with systemic problems that obviously had their origin in poor education. Extending the opportunity of (not mandating) pre-school programs has tremendous potential for improving education outcomes.Develop a program that is designed to teach students (in about grade 9) what programs are available to them to facilitate college attendance. For example, explaining how student loans work and the burden it imposes, exposing students to military programs, showing them how to investigate scholarship programs, and bringing in speakers to explain how they were able to attend college.In an unlimited fiscal environment, I would provide for greater access to health insurance and mental health counseling. I would expedite access to school and medical records for foster parents and provide for regional average compensation to foster parents.Expand Medicaid through the governor's proposal or by state question, in order to make health care accessible to children and to preserve rural hospitals and assist all financially burdened hospitals.Having organized and worked on groups investigating this problem during my 25 year tenure as a District Judge I would support laws to eliminate incarceration for non-violent offenders. As a component of that approach, I would support drug and behavioral counseling for offenders. I would require strict supervision of offenders who pose a threat to the welfare of children.I would support increasing the availability of legal counsel for foster parents and for children.I would support streamlining the adoption process and increasing adoption incentives. I believe there should frequent and thorough child welfare checks.We should eliminate the requirement of jury trials for termination of parental rights. No other state has such a requirement. The paramount consideration should always be what is in the best interests of the children. I would advocate for other procedural improvements to expedite permanency in placements and adoption of children.Throughout my judicial career, I have always been committed to the protection and healthy development of children. Children are often the most important party in a legal proceeding and yet sometimes have no way to express their problems, needs and wishes. As a state senator I would be committed to supporting legislation that rectifies laws that may be harmful to children and promoting laws that are child friendly.
SD35jo.a.dossett@gmail.comJo Anna DossettHere in Oklahoma, we need all children to have access to comprehensive and affordable healthcare, and we need to bring our per pupil expenditures through the public schools, up closer to the regional average. We also need to improve the broadband access that children and their caregivers across the state have. We as adults need to become more informed on childhood trauma and what we in our own roles can do to mitigate its negative affects on children in our communities.We need to start by listening to medical professionals about what can be done to lower Oklahoma’s rate of infant mortality, which is higher than the rest of the nation. After that, we need to ensure that Oklahoma children have access to comprehensive and affordable healthcare. We need to fight back against any legislative efforts to reduce investment in early childhood education.YesWe certainly need to reinvest in our state university systems. Oklahoma higher education has taken some of the deepest funding cuts of all state agencies over the last decade, with very little recovery in funding, such as we have seen in common education, for example. The cuts have shifted costs to individuals and families, many of whom simply do not have the means to pay high tuition rates. Reinvestment in our state university systems would simultaneously help lower tuition costs for Oklahomans, and prepare a new generation of Oklahomans to enter the workforce with the skills they need to keep our economy moving forward.One thing we must absolutely do is lower our incarceration rates, so that more individuals who have committed crimes, can be eligible to serve their sentences while still living at home and caring for their children. We also need ensure that more Oklahoma children have access to comprehensive health care. Additionally, we have a wonderful opportunity through our public school systems to provide children with high quality wrap around services with professionals such as social workers, nurses, and counselors, if we will make the investment. With proper investment, early intervention in the public school setting can help mitigate the effects of trauma children undergo in their outside of school settings.The first step, of course, is Medicaid expansion through the passage of SQ 802. Once that is done, we need to listen to the experts to see how we can reopen hospitals which have been shuttered. We need to examine areas, both rural and urban, where children are underserved, and investigate innovative practices such as bringing medical care to children via mobile units or telehealth opportunities. I have a lot to learn when it comes to Oklahoma children’s access to dental care, but I will ask OICA first, when the time comes.The first thing that we, the people, may have an opportunity to do is end sentence enhancements according to the language of SQ 805. The next thing we need to do is regain traction on legislation such as SB 252 from 2019, which would have reformed our cash bail system. Pre trial detention, because the accused does not have the resources to make bail, increases jail stays for a reason that has nothing to do with child safety. Likewise, enhancing current sentences due to past convictions doesn’t in and of itself keep children safer. In the end, careful consideration of the accusation at hand, and thoughtful, intentional sentencing which takes into account the family of the convicted, is what will keep children most safe, and our criminal justice system most responsive to the real needs of our communities. Beyond these two specific types of criminal justice reform, I will lean on OICA to help me learn about child safety in the midst of our efforts to reduce incarceration rates.Our children are our most precious resource, and the most vulnerable children are those for whom the state is responsible. I have a lot of learning to do regarding foster care and congregate care in Oklahoma, but I know the first experts I will ask, when the time comes, are those from OICA.We must do everything we can to keep families intact, while maintaining the safety of children. I trust OICA to inform stakeholders on the most current best practices in this area.I am a 15 year Oklahoma public educator, and a parent of two young children myself, but the expertise I have, is limited to that which I have gained in those two capacities. I need to learn a lot about child advocacy, and I can’t wait to be a good listener and learner! I remember attending an event sponsored in part by OICA at Circle Cinema in Tulsa last spring, and in that one evening I learned more about childhood trauma than I had in my entire life! I am excited to keep up my learning, through future OICA experiences.
SD35griffith.hotvedt@gmail.comCarly HotvedtComprehensive wrap around services to address the causes of the opportunity gap are needed. There is no one simple solution to address the complex issue of kids falling behind and through the gap. For Oklahoma, that means fully funding public schools, expanding broadband to rural OK, increasing access to affordable healthcare, and creating economic opportunities for all families across the state.Maternal and pre-natal health is the beginning of health for children. We need to increase access to reproductive health care and access especially in rural Oklahoma. We also need to find ways to make child care affordable for families so parents can access education and employment opportunities. Correcting the challenges of food deserts and nutrition challenges should also be prioritized to prevent health challenges related to metabolic diseases. I would also fully fund the Developmental DisabilityYes, early education and interventions are vital to support the success of all students.We must reinvest public dollars to higher education to make it affordable. The state paid percentage of tuition costs have decreased wildly over the past few decades resulting in skyrocketing costs of higher education passed along to the student resulting in unaffordable state education.Childhood trauma can be decreased with better prepared parents. I would encourage public policy that would support delaying becoming a parent like comprehensive sexual and reproductive education, free access to birth control, and targeted programs to reduce teen pregnancy. I would also encourage paid parental leave to prevent the economic shocks with taking time off for new babies or foster placements or the premature return to work. I also think placing counselors in schools is vital and ensuring that they are actually able to be engaged in counseling activities versus administrative responsibilities due to position elimination and job responsibility spread over remaining school staff.Expand Medicaid!I would support diversionary programs for parents with contact with the criminal justice system. As a foster to adoptive mom, I understand how contact with the criminal justice system can impact families. When we send women to prison, we break up families resulting in compounded challenges and increased ACE scores for children. Diversionary programs should provide additional supports for parents like job training, drug treatment, family therapy, employment placement, child care, and housing assistance.There needs to be better accountability and oversight for legal counsel appointed to foster children. The children I fostered had difficulty contacting their legal counsel for advice on particular topics of importance like identity theft and credit freezing. I would also hire more social workers and PAY THEM COMPETITIVE WAGES. Turnover and burnout in DHS staff is detrimental to the continuity of services for children and allows oversights to occur. Social workers should continue to be assigned to foster kids through age 26 if they choose to sign themselves back in for service. Additionally, foster kids should not have to enroll in Oklahoma Promise; it should be automatic.Parents should be empowered to make the best choices for their children. However, if those choices would put other children or the public at risk, parents are also responsible for bearing the consequences of those choices. For example, a parent may choose not to vaccinate their child according to scientifically accepted medical recommendations without seeking an exemption. If a local school district refuses to accept unvaccinated children without an approved exemption, it is then the responsibility of that parent to secure educational opportunities for their children either through private school, virtual school, or homeschooling.Every child deserves a high quality free public education regardless of their location, parentage, housing, race, gender, socioeconomic, or other demographic status.
SD35standwithstan@att.netStan Allen YoungSupport legislation that improves public education and does not penalize poverty.Support investment in early education like Head Start.Yes.Invest in distance learning programs support the Student Borrowers Bill of Rights.Make parenting classes in high school mandatory.Support Medicaid expansion and Soonercare.Eliminate the 85% rule.Uncertain pending evaluation of current system.Benefit of the doubt can be dashed by one errant or marginal professional opinion.I depend on professionals (LSW, LPC, psychologist) opinions and input on this issue
SD39shawna4oklahoma@gmail.comShawna Mott-WrightThe foster care system needs more resources. Like public education, they are extremely underfunded, understaffed, and expected to perform miracles. We are 44th in the nation for uninsured children under the age of 18. Public education, access to healthcare, access to good nutrition, jobs that pay parents decent living wages so they don't take their stresses out on their kids, and a good early childhood education all help prevent ACES, help the brain develop correctly (which directly correlates to trauma). It is all cyclical, it all takes INVESTMENT, and OUR KIDS ARE WORTH IT!!Early Childhood Education programs that include academics, socialization with other peers, and nutrition programs are vital to a child's brain developing correctly. This isn't just about when they are little but reaching them when they are little is about changing their entire life!ABSOLUTELYOur student loan system needs a major overhaul. We need to become less about the "almighty dollar" and more about people. But even in saying that, investing in people is self-serving in a good way. A rising tide lifts all boats. A more educated society helps everyone.Provide their parents/guardians with better paying jobs, make sure the family unit has access to good nutrition, and make all opportunities (whether within the education system or otherwise) more accessible so that people with different needs can have those needs met. In the education world, we hear a lot about reading. Yes, reading is important. But little Johnny doesn't care about reading if: you're making him read something he hates or possibly goes against everything he is/believes in, if he is hungry, if he doesn't feel safe. We must start prioritizing our children in deed and not just words. To the legislature: SHOW ME THE MONEY FOR OUR KIDS!We need to increase Medicaid provider reimbursement rates so more physicians will participate in the SoonerCare program.Oklahoma is far too quick to lock up non-violent offenders. To take a line from "The Mikado," the punishment should fit the crime. When it comes to the safety of children, that has to be a priority. But there have to be steps somewhere between the home and the jail cell. Parenting classes with incentives (and at different times because parents work at different times) need to be offered. Rehabilitation is the key. So whether it is the parent/guardian or child that is found guilty of a crime, there should be steps to helping said parties recover and start over. I would definitely be soliciting OICA on this topic because you are more of an expert here than I am. But generally, I think of my kids in my HS classroom. Yes, if you do something wrong, there will be consequences. However, they will be appropriate, fair, and equitable. They won't be too harsh, nor too lenient. And I am not going to hold that against my students everyday. If I (or society) take that attitude, then there is no reason for them to care or try.As I previously stated, the foster care system needs more resources. Like public education, they are extremely underfunded, understaffed, and expected to perform miracles. WE NEED MONEY IF WE EXPECT IT TO FUNCTION PROPERLY. Again, I would be seeking your expertise and tutelage.I need to be further educated on this, but I will say that I think it would depend on the situation.Children and the well-being of kids are my life. Because of this, helping educators is also my life. Basically, our kids are growing up with technology we didn't have, a global society view (or knowing that is out there but not within their grasp which is heartbreaking), and trauma we either didn't have or weren't supposed to talk about. Yes, they need more resources than before - but that is because there is more need than ever before. What you need to know about me is I am a tell-it-like-it-is gal. Our kids have more needs than ever before which means we need to be investing like never before. For the naysayers to this, well I think not only are they selfish, but they are idiots. These children will grow up and compose the adult population that runs society. So even these selfish morons should be more on board with doing what needs to be done for kids. And I am SICK of politicians giving lip service to this idea. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS!!! PUT THE MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS! I may be only one vote in the Senate, but I will ALWAYS vote for kids! And what is the point in running for office if you just cow-tow to all of the junk that has continually been going on?! I will stand up for kids. You can count on that. ALWAYS!
SD7Kevinwoody62@gmail.comKevin WoodyFocus and improve a child's opportunity in any way possible. This would establish their foundation in life.I would make sure that they are kept in a loving and caring environment to assure their foundation is established.My mother and sister were both teachers and it is critical that a child's education is established in their lives.We have the Oklahoma 429 college savings plan and the Oklahoma Promise but i will take action to assure their long-term needs to further their education. I believe Arkansas has an educational lottery to help their youth obtain a college education.I would take action to assure our children are protected from traumatic experiences.I would support services that assure our children have the best healthcare and dental care. If they are provided with healthy conditions, they can be assured that someone cares for them giving them self confidence.I would stand tough here and with parents, i would take a 2 strikes your out because their well-being is of utmost importance.I would take action to closely monitor foster care to make certain that a child's well-being is taken care of first and they are in a safe environment.I would make sure that the children are safe before considering parental rights, but once it is proven that parents are responsible then it would be safe to be with their parents if it is verified their safety is and will be of utmost importance.As I stated earlier, a childs health, safety and wellness is crucial and all focus be given to assure they are in good hands.
USSjohnftompkins2@gmail.comJohn F. Tompkins IIThe key to employment opportunities is a good education. Therefore, we need to improve public education in our state.I will promote affordable childcare and early childhood education.Yes, pre-school is an essential part of our education system.The key to affordable higher education will be online learning. Funding advancement in the technology and techniques of computer education would make college more accessible and would prove to be a good investment of tax dollars.We need to enhance our child protective services to minimize the likelihood of childhood trauma and provide counseling to mitigate the long-term emotional consequences of the trauma that does occur.We should expand Medicaid in Oklahoma.Many people who are incarcerated are behind bars simply because they are not able to pay bail. We should not require bail for people who are accused of non-violent offenses. In addition, we need to reform our criminal justice system to increase the number of convicted non-violent offenders to serve their sentences at home.We need to increase the funding of our foster care system, enhance the training of parents who participate in the system, and encourage the interaction of foster families.In general, the protection of children is more important than the preservation of parental rights.Our children are literally the future of our state and our nation. We need to focus on their safety and education.
USSJoan@JoanFarr.comJoan E FarrI was never in agreement with Common Core having experienced the effects firsthand when my son was in the fourth grade. Therefore, I dont' believe there is an opportunity gap.I will advocate that parents spend more time with their children reading to them and nurturing their development during these early formative years. Especially during this time in a child's life, time-outs are ineffective and a slap on the hand or swat on the behind is needed. I raised four sons and discipline is needed so that a child grows up respecting their parents and their elders. Spanking should also be brought back in schools.No. I would rather that parents make their child a priority over their job and spend time with them before they have to begin attending school.I would advocate that tuition and fees be lowered and make college free for children from low income families.I think women should be making their children a priority over working. My feeling is that they should have a career only before having children or after they are raised, and only part-time work in between if financially able. I once advocated for a "No Child Left Alone Act" which would ensure that a child has at least one parent there in the morning to get them off to school and one there in the afternoon when they return home to greet them and help them get started on their homework. This shows a child that their parents love them more than they do their jobs.Oftentimes, a parent is too busy with their work and don't want to take their child in for medical and dental care when needed. So I think that if a teacher notices that a child is in need of these during the school year, it should be brought to the parents' attention. Schools could also offer information as to where to obtain low-cost medical and dental care at enrollment and when meeting with a child's parents during the school year.Most of the people in jail are poor and are there for pretrial detention. My main reason for running is to overhaul the legal system and I am proposing a "justice amendment." This gives everyone the right to an attorney in a civil matter as well as a criminal one, and it involves computerizing the evidence before charges can be brought or a lawsuit can be filed. I feel this would greatly reduce incarceration since people will not be falsely charged thereby reducing their stress and keeping them from taking it out on their children.I would have to research the current policies further in order to give an educated answer.I think that a "justice amendment" will fully preserve parental rights and will protect children because parents will not be falsely charged by the system to cause them undue stress which they take out on their children. This proposed amendment is described in full on my website at my work as a pre-litigation consultant, I have encouraged people seeking a divorce to stay together for the sake of their children and get help if they need it. I think that if God gave you children, then your first and foremost purpose in life is to be the best parent you can be, and you can't do it every other weekend. When Jesus was asked, "Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?" he drew a little child to him. I believe that everything we do in this life, every law that we pass, should be for the betterment of our children.
USSSenatorRogers2020@gmail.comBevon RogersThe opportunity gap is expansive, and includes economic, health, and education. These must be focused on, improved, and well designed plans strategically implemented within our communities. I have a lot of ideas on this topic and further information on my political agenda on my campaign website.Advocate physical activity, enhanced health through diet. I will also focus heavily on the lives of their parents because I feel that this is a crucial component to the child's early years. We will need to ensure steady incomes, foster healthy lifestyles, and encourage community togetherness.I had my daughter in 3K, or essentially pre-pre school, per her mother's request and it was really an enhanced daycare. I cannot say that I feel that it is an essential part of the education system, but I will say that it made my child's mother much more comfortable having her in an academic setting versus daycare at an early age. The cost was not significantly higher either, so it is a valuable part of the education system, especially for young parents. But I personally do not see it as "essential". I myself never attended pre-school.As a millennial college graduate, I lived through the perils of fraudulent student loans, loan predation, and unfair prices for books and other absolute necessities price gouged for the college student. We will have to approach this firmly in congress because there are ways we can make college more accessible, but we will have to legislate for the students, not the businesses that see students as nothing more than an economic input.Invest in social work; by this I mean be more aggressive and give social workers access to more resources such as police, sheriffs, and others who can mediate and respond to the crisis as it is developing and reduce the number of cases that result in trauma. Also implement exercises with the children, with the social worker as a coach and firmly, but delicately gather critical information about family and home experiences that can allow the social workers to do their job more effectively.I believe in the high volume low cost healthcare model. What this means is that you treat as many patients as possible for the lowest possible cost. This reduces pharmaceutical costs and routine procedures such as x-rays, and other imaging. This, in my opinion, is the beginning of universal health care, but we have many opponents that stand in our way and destroy bills aimed at limiting and controlling the outrageous billing and insurance aspects of our healthcare that prevent more coverage. My father is a healthcare administrator and I know the inside and outside of healthcare and have a solid outline for what it will take to ensure the access, but the quality as alluded to above lies within the administrator, policy writing, and the education and management of the healthcare team.We will have to review our penal codes and make an assessment. To achieve this end, we will reduce or decriminalize offenses that are in no way linked to the health and well-being of a child. The health and safety of our children is a top priority and the pinnacle of my platform.I will listen to your organization and when you approach me with necessary changes to policy I will have pen in hand and begin writing a bill for you immediately. I am not versed enough in foster care or the Office of Juvenile Affairs but I will trust the OICA and always be available to you in order to make legislative adjustments on behalf of the children and caregivers.This is a balance in my opinion. We have to protect the children first and foremost, and if parental rights will indeed risk in any way the children, then preservation of those right come into question. So we will need firm rules for what does, and does not preserve your parental rights when the health sand safety of the child is in question.This is hard because this is a personal problem I face now with my 6 year old daughter. Her mother, in my opinion, is not where I want her to be as a parent, but they live in Texas and she never is responsive to my communications. I have struggled with this for years and even now I am not sure how to go about handling this situation. So I am at a loss because parental custody agreements crossing state lines are difficult to navigate so for parents and the child, there must be a way to streamline and enforce the process of preserving parental rights when the parents are separated, and one shuts themselves off completely and no police, no agency or anything will get involved.