Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Helping the Kids

Most of you know that my day job is directing an orphan ministry in Africa. Every day I see the faces of children with no hope, no help, advanced trauma needs and few advocates. Do you know that in Oklahoma we have some of the same issues?

The Human Services Commission for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) was abolished by the voters of Oklahoma on Nov. 6, 2012 with the passage of State Question (SQ) 765.

This is a good thing, however the next step has yet to be taken.

Previously, the Commission had oversight of OKDHS, but the passage of SQ 765 means that the Director of OKDHS makes all decisions for the agency and reports directly to the Governor. Four citizen advisory panels will report to the Director and provide advice and recommendations on Administration issues, Aging Services, Children and Family Services, and Developmental Disabilities Services. 

Each advisory panel will have five members, with one member on each panel appointed by:
the Governor, Mary Fallin - Contact her here
the Speaker of the House, Rep T.W. Shannon- tw.shannon@okhouse.gov
the Senate Pro Tempore, Rep Mike Jackson – mikejackson@okhouse.gov
the Minority House Leader - Rep. Scott Inman – scott.inman@okhouse.gov
the Minority Senate Leader – Rep. Ben Sherrer – bensherrer@okhouse.gov
As appointments are made, the names of panel members will be published on the OKDHS website.

I tell you all of this because I know two women who need to be on these advisory panels and I need your help.

Michelle Kelley and Shelley Cadamy Munoz have seen the system from the inside out. They have both been foster parents and are adoptive parents of children who have experienced trauma and have been through the DHS system. These women are staunch advocates for children and for the system around them. Their passion and their skills could be an invaluable asset to these advisory panels.

I think its important to note and I am asking:

1) Who is being considered?

2) When will it be announced?

3) There are no priorities for DHS listed for the House - is this because they consider the issue done? But if they haven't named the panels how can the issue be done? 
Oklahoma House Priorities listed here.

Taking care of kids should be a non-partisan issue, so regardless of how these women vote they are in it for the kids. Shelley has a background in organizational development - this would be helpful in a culture change situation. Michelle has a background in marketing and this would be helpful in public awareness, foster and adoptive parent recruitment, and brand credibility building. 
So here is what I'm asking you to do. MAKE SOME NOISE! Help me spread this on social media, send a email to the officials listed above, make a  phone call, just do something. We need to let our elected officials know that languishing in a place of indecision in unacceptable and we want to see action. We want to see these advisory panels staffed and in place. We want to see the kids in our DHS system made a priority. Without us, they have nothing. With us, there is hope for a different today, tomorrow and forever in their futures. Make the effort, make a difference. 
Thank you!