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ODOH cuts could end programs aimed at stopping child abuse

The Department of Health is trying to cut millions of dollars from its budget, but many are saying children will suffer the most. (KTUL)

So many programs across the state are feeling the brunt of the budget crisis in Oklahoma City. The Department of Health is trying to cut millions of dollars from its budget, but many are saying children will suffer the most.

The Department of Health’s move will affect nine Oklahoma Child Abuse Prevention Centers across the state. One of those is right here in Tulsa.

Ashliegh Kraft got the call Monday morning. She’s the interim Executive Director of the Parent Child Center.

“It’s that pit of your stomach, ‘What are we going to do?’ type feelings,” Kraft says. “For both our families and our staff.

One hundred and ten families, many with multiple children, rely on the Parent Child Center Tulsa on South Boston Ave.

“For some families, these are really the lifeline services that help them parent in safe and nurturing ways,” Kraft says.

The cuts are coming on the heels of a terrible trend in T-town.

“We had a 34 percent increase in confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect in Tulsa County in the last year,” she says. “And I would anticipate that this would impact that in a negative direction for next year.”

It’s a massive budget hole.

“It’s a $444,000 hole that just arrived in our budget,” she says. “And we have two weeks to figure out how to fill it.”

Sometimes people have children when they aren’t ready. The Parent Child Center steps in to teach them how to raise a baby. It’s a voluntary program, not court-ordered.

“We really try to build on the strengths that they have,” she says. “And augment the areas that they need and really provide whatever else they might need.”

Kraft says the future of our state, children, are in the crosshairs to suffer most.

“The kids. The really young kids that are growing up in these homes and they can’t parent themselves are the people who really suffer the most,” she says.

Kraft says they’re reaching out to longtime partners and sponsors to try and find a way to fill that gap. They’ve got until November 15.

If you'd like to learn more about the Parent Child Center of Tulsa, you can click this link to head to the website.

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