2021 Oklahoma Statutes
Title 10. Children
§10-22.2. Investing in Stronger Oklahoma Families Act – Purpose – Comprehensive strategic plan – Information database – Family resource assistance – Partnerships – Brochure.

Universal Citation: 10 OK Stat § 10-22.2 (2021)

A. This section shall be known and may be cited as the “Investing in Stronger Oklahoma Families Act”.

B. It is the intent of the Oklahoma Legislature in enacting the Investing in Stronger Oklahoma Families Act to provide assistance to guardians of children, adoptive parents and other “created families”, to assist such guardians, adoptive parents and families to assume permanent custody of children in need of safe and permanent homes, and to enhance family preservation and the stability of these homes.

C. For purposes of implementing the Investing in Stronger Oklahoma Families Act, the Department of Human Services shall collaborate with appropriate local, state and federal agencies and private entities to develop by December 31, 2001, a comprehensive strategic state plan for investing in stronger families.

D. The comprehensive strategic state plan shall:

1. Set a goal to annually increase the number of programs for “created families” which will increase safe and permanent homes for children who are not in the custody of the Department but unable to reside with their biological parents and encourage and preserve the adoption or guardianship of and other legal custody arrangements for such children;

2. Develop and implement a statewide public awareness campaign which will inform preadoptive homes, adoptive homes and other persons desiring to obtain guardianship or other legal custody of a child, of the programs, grants and other assistance available to them;

3. Identify public and private resources, both within the agencies subject to the provisions of this section and within the state and within the communities;

4. Provide for coordination and collaboration among related efforts and programs;

5. Provide for contracts or agreements with public and private entities for utilization of identifiable financial resources from federal, state, local and private resources and coordinate those resources to fund-related services; and

6. Apply for grants and matching monies to assist in the implementation of the Investing in Stronger Oklahoma Families Act including, but not limited to, funds derived from the “Respect Life - Support Adoption” license plates.

E. As part of the development and implementation of the comprehensive strategic plan, the Department shall, as funds are available and using existing available state resources, develop an information database consisting of data on existing programs serving families who have taken on the responsibility of providing children with safe and permanent homes. In developing the information database, the Department shall coordinate with the Children's Coordinated Data System developed by the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth.

F. The Legislature hereby encourages the establishment of family resource assistance that links federal, state and local resources and programs and that creates collaborative and interorganizational partnerships between state governmental agencies and private and nonprofit entities and attorneys. Such agencies and private and nonprofit entities shall include, but not be limited to:

1. The Department of Human Services;

2. The State Department of Education;

3. The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education;

4. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce;

5. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission;

6. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority;

7. The State Department of Health;

8. The Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth;

9. The State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services;

10. The Department of Corrections;

11. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education;

12. Community action agencies;

13. Local and municipal groups;

14. Substate planning groups;

15. Religious and charitable organizations;

16. Private child placement entities;

17. Public or private foundations; and

18. Representatives of the courts and attorneys who practice in adoption.

G. The Department shall enter into collaborative and interorganizational partnerships as necessary to provide assistance to guardians, adoptive parents and other “created families”.

H. Within available funding specified by this section, the Department may provide created families with:

1. Case management services;

2. Flexible funds to enable the relatives, guardians, adoptive parents and other created families to meet unusual or crisis expenditures, including but not limited to, making housing deposits, utility deposits, or purchasing beds, clothing and food;

3. Child care and after school care;

4. Respite care;

5. Transportation;

6. Counseling;

7. Support groups;

8. Assistance in accessing parental child support payments;

9. Aid in accessing food stamps, Social Security and other public benefits;

10. Assistance for establishing a guardianship, adopting or obtaining custody of the child;

11. Available volunteer attorney services;

12. Mediation/family group conferencing; and

13. Community-based services and state or federal programs serving guardians of children, adoptive families and other created families.

I. The Department of Human Services may provide any services necessary to effectuate the purposes of this section by contract with any person or with any public or private entity.

J. The Department shall, pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act, promulgate any rules necessary to implement the provisions of this section.

K. For purposes of the Investing in Stronger Oklahoma Families Act, the Department shall, from funds available, develop, publish, and distribute an informational brochure for guardians, adoptive parents and other created families who provide full-time care for children. The information provided under the program authorized by this section may include, but is not limited to, the following:

1. The benefits that may be available to children and created families pursuant to this section providing full-time care;

2. The procedures to access the created families program;

3. A list of support groups and resources located throughout the state; and

4. Such other information deemed necessary by the Department.

Added by Laws 2001, c. 434, § 1, emerg. eff. June 8, 2001. Amended by Laws 2009, c. 233, § 4, emerg. eff. May 21, 2009.

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