OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Department of Health will be severing ties with dozens of social service agencies that offer child-abuse prevention counseling and health services as part of a larger move to trim $3 million from its budget.
The department announced Monday that funding would be cut for nine child-abuse prevention programs and 25 health centers as of Nov. 15.
The cuts come as the state faces a $215 million budget gap. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled against a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax that was expected to help fund the agency.
According to data from the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, Oklahoma ranks first in the country for children with adverse experiences that include physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and food insecurity.
A Health Department spokesman says it’s time for the agency to take action after seeing the outlook of the budget.