OKLAHOMA CITY – To better service Oklahoma families in need, House Speaker T.W. Shannon has asked Representatives Mark McCullough and Jason Nelson to form a bi-partisan working group to examine the state’s Home Visitation Programs.
“The first order of government is to protect our citizens,” said Speaker Shannon, R-Lawton. “We must ensure the safety of our children and do what we can to help strengthen the family unit. Strong families build a strong nation.”
Programs like the Children First Home Visitation Program currently visit the homes of at-risk families to evaluate living conditions of children. Recently, Rep. McCullough, R-Sapulpa, and other House members have voiced concerns over the decline in families being serviced and the effectiveness of the program over the past decade.
“It’s time to see what modern standards we can implement and how we can best serve and protect children in at-risk homes,” Rep. McCullough said. “I fear we are wasting funds on an old system that does not address modern issues. Our tax dollars should go towards home visitation methods that truly protect our vulnerable young Oklahomans.”
Members will look at each state visitation program over the next year and consult with affected constituents and local and national experts.
“We will concentrate on efficiency, effectiveness and possible alternatives,” said Rep. Nelson, R-Oklahoma City. “It’s time we take a serious look at how we can help strengthen families so Oklahoma children in need can have a better future.”
Working group members will be announced within the next several weeks.
Rep. McCullough will not pursue passage of House Bill 1063 this session to allow the working group to study the issue and develop recommendations. HB1063 would have suspended all home visitation programs and required an audit of the effectiveness of each program.