Category: OCASA News

Committee News

Committee News.



Senate Finance

Senate Finance Committee


Monday, February 7, 2012, 10:30 a.m., Room 511A, State Capitol


Members Present: Sen. Mazzei, Chair; Sen. Brinkley, Vice Chair; Sen. Adelson; Sen. Aldridge; Sen. Ballenger; Sen. Childers; Sen. David; Sen. Ford; Sen. Halligan; Sen. Ivester; Sen. Jolley; Sen. Russell; Sen. Simpson; Sen. Sparks; Sen. Treat; Sen. Wilson;


Members Absent: None


Others Present: Sen. Stanislawski; Sen. Justice; Sen. Garrison; David Kinney, Attorney General’s Office; Donna Cash, Oklahoma Tax Commission.


By Sean Rose, the Journal Record Legislative Report


The Chair called the meeting to order at 10:41 a.m. He greeted everyone and by unanimous consent struck titles to all bills presented. He recognized Adelson and gave him the floor to present the first bill.


The Chair recognized David to introduce the next measure

 SB 1071 (3) By David. Reauthorizes the state income tax donation for Court Appointed Special Advocate Programs effective January 1, 2014.


David said the bill would re-authorize a currently established donation option on income taxes.


There was a motion to pass by Ford, seconded by Simpson. Chair asked for debate , seeing none he directed the clerk to call roll for a vote. The motion passed 15-0.


The Chair recognized Garrison for the next measure.

CASA volunteers on the rise |

CASA volunteers on the rise

Media stories about child abuse may have helped increase the number of people inquiring about becoming a child-advocate volunteer, organizers say.

via CASA volunteers on the rise |

CASA volunteers on the rise |

CASA volunteers on the rise |

April 2010 – National CASA – CASA for Children

Congress Speaks Up for CASA Program

The Obama Administration has proposed spending freezes on most discretionary programs for FY 2011. The recommendation has received only a lukewarm reception in Congress. The President’s budget proposes just $10 million for the CASA program, a reduction of 33% from the 2010 enacted level. The funding supports the grants program for state and local CASA/GAL programs as well as training and program support. The proposed cut would result in a loss of 3,500 citizen volunteers nationwide and a disruption of services for more than 12,000 abused children.

National CASA led a delegation of CASA/GAL representatives to conduct Congressional appointments in March. Meeting with 58 Congressional offices, we learned that there is strong support in Congress to sustain level funding of $15 million for the CASA program in this next fiscal year. The Association also issued a legislative alert in mid-March to our national network of supporters. We are very grateful for the overwhelming response to the alert. As a result of CASA supporters contacting their member of Congress, a letter in support of level funding of $15 million for the CASA program was sent to the House Appropriations committee, with 28 Congressional signatures. House and Senate appropriations subcommittees will hold hearings April – May, and we expect that they will make their recommendations for FY 2011 funding early this summer.

via April 2010 – National CASA – CASA for Children.

April 2010 – National CASA – CASA for Children

Health Care Law: Benefits For Children

Tom Birch, National Child Abuse Coalition

The new health care reform law includes numerous provisions aimed at improving the health and well-being of children and youth and vulnerable adults. Among the provisions which would provide new coverage and advantages to children and youth are the following:

  • Prohibits health insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, effective six months from enactment. In 2014, the prohibition applies to all persons. Insurance providers have denied coverage to children for pre-existing chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder.
  • Requires all health plans to extend coverage to young people up to the age of 26 under their parents’ insurance policies, who live with their parent or are a student, and up to 30 years old, who are also unmarried and have no dependent child of their own.
  • Streamlines continuing coverage through the new state exchanges for children already covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program CHIP and extends CHIP funding through 2015.
  • Provides Medicaid coverage to children who have been in foster care to continue up to the age of 26.
  • Mandates information be available for children aging out of foster care and independent living programs about the importance of having a health care power of attorney to make health care decisions on behalf of the child who does not have a relative authorized to decide.
  • Expands the adoption credit and adoption assistance program, increasing each by $1000, makes the credit refundable, and extends the credit through 2011, effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2009.Excerpted from the WASHINGTON MEMORANDUM, March 24, 2010, Vol. 30, No. 5, The National Child Abuse Coalition

via April 2010 – National CASA – CASA for Children.

US Study Shows Drop In Child Abuse : NPR

APNewsBreak: by The Associated Press

NEW YORK February 3, 2010, 04:01 am ET

A massive new federal study documents an unprecedented and dramatic decrease in incidents of serious child abuse, especially sexual abuse. Experts hailed the findings as proof that crackdowns and public awareness campaigns had made headway.

An estimated 553,000 children suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse in 2005-06, down 26 percent from the estimated 743,200 abuse victims in 1993, the study found.

“It's the first time since we started collecting data about these things that we've seen substantial declines over a long period, and that's tremendously encouraging,” said professor David Finkelhor of the University of New Hampshire, a leading researcher in the field of child abuse.

“It does suggest that the mobilization around this issue is helping and it's a problem that is amenable to solutions,” he said.

The findings were contained in the fourth installment of the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, a congressionally mandated study that has been conducted periodically by the Department of Health and Human Services. The previous version was issued in 1996, based on 1993 data.

The new study is based on information from more than 10,700 “sentinels” — such as child welfare workers, police officers, teachers, health care professionals and day care workers — in 122 counties across the country. The detailed data collected from them was then used to make national estimates.

The number of sexually abused children decreased from 217,700 in 1993 to 135,300 in 2005-2006 — a 38 percent drop, the study shows. The number of children who experienced physical abuse fell by 15 percent and the number of emotionally abused children dropped by 27 percent.

The 455-page study shied away from trying to explain the trends, but other experts offered their theories.

“There's much more public awareness and public intolerance around child abuse now,” said Linda Spears, the Child Welfare League of America's vice president for public policy. “It was a hidden concern before — people were afraid to talk about it if it was in their family.”

She also noted the proliferation of programs designed to help abusers and potential abusers overcome their problems.

Finkelhor, whose own previous research detected a drop in abuse rates, said the study reveals “real, substantial declines” that cannot be dismissed on any technical grounds, such as changing definitions of abuse.

He suggested that the decline was a product of several coinciding trends, including a “troop surge” in the 1990s when more people were deployed in child protection services and the criminal justice system intensified its anti-abuse efforts with more arrests and prison sentences.

Finkelhor also suggested that the greatly expanded use of medications may have enabled many potential child abusers to treat the conditions that otherwise might have led them to molest or mistreat a child.

“There's also been a general change in perceptions and norms about what one can get away with, so much more publicity about these things,” he said.

One curious aspect of the study was the manner of its release. Although HHS had launched the study in 2004 and invested several million dollars, it was posted a few days ago on the Internet with no fanfare — neither a press release nor a news conference. Finkelhor, noting that experts in the field had been impatiently awaiting the study, described this low-profile approach as “shocking.”

The findings might be disconcerting to some in the child-welfare field who base their funding pitches on the specter of ever-rising abuse rates, said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.

“The best use of scarce child welfare dollars is on prevention and family preservation — not on hiring more people to investigate less actual abuse,” said Wexler.

The study found some dramatic differences in child abuse rates based on socio-economic factors. Poor children were three times more likely than other kids to experience abuse, and rates of abuse in African-American families were significantly higher than for whites and Hispanics.

Family structure also was a factor — for example, children whose single parent had a live-in partner faced an abuse rate 10 times that of a child living with two parents.

Wexler said a primary reason for the overall drop in abuse rates was the relatively prosperous economy during the period under study.

“The fact that the economic gains were unequal explains why maltreatment declined less in black families,” he said.

The main author of the study, Andrea Sedlak of the Rockville, Md.-based research firm Westat Inc., said she was heartened by the overall findings of declining abuse rates. However, she was troubled to find that more than half of child maltreatment incidents are not investigated by child-protection agencies.

“Is the system still so strapped?” she asked. “There's still a lot of material here saying the system has a long way to go.”

The study does not cover the recent period in which the United States plunged into a recession, prompting some reports of increased domestic violence and abuse in hard-off families.


On the Net:

New abuse study:

National Coalition for Child Protection Reform:

via APNewsBreak: US Study Shows Drop In Child Abuse : NPR.

OK-Senate Judiciary Committee narrowly approves OJA measure, okays open records exemptions

eCapitol News

Author: Shawn Ashley
Date: 02/02/2010

(OK) The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee nearly saw his own bill go down in defeat Tuesday after members expressed concern over a repealer in the legislation. The committee also approved two bills that would add new exemptions to the Oklahoma Open Records Act.

By a vote of 4 to 3, SB 1771, by Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, received a do pass recommendation with its title stricken. The bill modifies language related to instances when a juvenile or youthful offender is found to have run away or is absent without leave from a staff secure or non-secure placement. It states that a court is to consider such actions as possible grounds for bridging the youthful offender to the adult system. It repeals statutory language related to legislative intent under the Youthful Offender Act.

It was the repealer that drew the concern of Sens. Kenneth Corn, D-Poteau, and Anthony Sykes, R-Moore. The language that would be repealed expresses the Legislature’s intent that “eligible 17-year-olds should have the opportunity to be processed as youthful offenders as provided by law and held accountable through the various provisions of the Youthful Offender Act for custody, institutional placement, supervision, extended jurisdiction within the Office of Juvenile Affairs…”

Corn asked whether repealing the language would eliminate the opportunity for those 17 and older to be treated as youthful offenders and to receive treatment from OJA. J’Lynn Hartman, legislative liaison for the agency, said that was not the intent. Instead, she explained, removal of the language would allow the courts to determine whether youths should be directed to the agency and would allow time for the agency to provide treatment for the youths.

Sykes noted that the language to be repealed had been the cornerstone for a number of Court of Criminal Appeals decisions concerning the state’s youthful offender law.

Sen. Charlie Laster, D-Shawnee, joined Corn and Sykes in voting against the bill’s do pass motion. Sens. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa; Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa; Susan Paddack, D-Ada; and Anderson, who chairs the committee, voted in favor of the motion.

Judge Stephen Alcorn receives the Oklahoma CASA Association 2009 Judge of the Year Award

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