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Representative wants to disband children’s programs

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OKLAHOMA CITY—One state representative says he wants to disband a children’s program and return federal funding to save money.

Rep. Mark McCullough authored HB 1063, which would disband the Children First Program, return federal Affordable Care Act funding and suspend three smaller home visitation programs until an audit could be performed.

McCullough said he is a proponent of home visitation, if it is done right.

“Home visitation is an increasingly significant part of the social services the state provides,” said McCullough. “However, we must be good stewards of the dollars we spend on these programs. This is not a witch hunt. I am not angry with anyone. I am just trying to be a responsible steward of tax dollars and an advocate for the true mission of home visitation programs. If relatives fail to help an at-risk family and the church fails to help, then the government must. It is in our best interest to intervene early. And if we’re gonna do it, let’s do it right.”

He says the number of people served by the program has dropped by more than half.

In fact, father involvement has decreased by 10 percent over a six month period.

“For the price tag of $14 million, plus another $9 million in Affordable Health Care Act funding, we get little improvement, and in some cases, worse results,” McCullough said. “I was amazed to see father involvement decline in the group served by the program.”

He says other, newer models would yield better results.