Oklahoma children and family service programs will receive over $5 million in federal grants.
The Administration on Children Youth and Families, Children's Bureau awarded $3.2 million to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and another three-year $2 million grant to NorthCare, a partner to DHS.
The money will got to a five-year project to provide effective mental and behavioral health services to children, youth and families.
The Oklahoma Trauma Assessment and Service Center Collaborative will partner on the project with Center on Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, the Chadwick Center for Children and Families in San Diego, the National Resource Center for Youth Services in Tulsa and the Andrus Children's Center in New York.
The project will center on implementing trauma services into shelters, beginning by converting two Oklahoma DHS operated shelters to assessment centers. Children will be able to receive trauma screenings and services.
Oklahoma DHS will also partner with NorthCare on a similar project focused on ensuring Oklahoma has a trauma-informed child welfare system that will be able to recognize and help families and children.
Both projects will support the Pinnacle Plan, Oklahoma's child welfare improvement plan.
"These two grant projects compliment the initiatives in the Pinnacle Plan by supporting the trauma initiatives and kinship foster families," said Deborah G. Smith, Director, OKDHS Child Welfare Services. "We are thrilled Oklahoma successfully competed for these grants and appreciate our partners for their continued faith in our ability to improve the child welfare system.
The Pinnacle Plan is centered on seven points including, recruiting more homes, vertically integrating child welfare services into one division, improving the workforce by lowering workloads, achieving permanency for children, creating a quality assurance program, consistent process for investigating allegations of abuse or neglect and partnering with stakeholders.