“There are a lot of demands,” Oklahoma child advocacy group wants their message to be heard by lawmakers

OKLAHOMA CITY - As the Oklahoma legislative session began, child advocates were already meeting with lawmakers to discuss what needs to be done this year.

On Monday morning, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy and the Oklahoma Women's Coalition held panel discussions with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

"There are a lot of demands, a lot of different needs, a lot of different ideas, so the lawmakers are going to have a tough time deciding where that money will go,” said Joe Dorman, the CEO of OICA.

The organization, which advocates for children's rights, is already preparing for a plethora of bills. One such measure, by Sen. Carrie Hicks, would restore the refundability of the Earned Income Tax Credit, along with several other policies to improve the child welfare system.

"We're also going to see issues with school suspension. We're going to try to improve counseling services for children rather than being kicked out of the classroom,” Dorman said.

Dorman met with Gov. Kevin Stitt and said he's optimistic he will support bills relating to children in need.

"I wanted to be governor, and Gov. Stitt has the opportunity to implement a lot of those programs and a lot of the ideas he's pursuing are ideas we looked at, so it's not a partisan issue. A lot of these ideas make sense," Dorman said.

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