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News Archives

Talking to Kids About Tragedy

Children don’t think exactly like adults. When discussing this week’s shooting at an Ohio high school, deadly severe storms or other tragedies with children, it’s important to take special care. Carrie Little, program coordinator/educator at Family & Children’s Services, has tips to help parents talk to their children about tragedy.

 

 

 

 

Need professional help in dealing with trauma in your child’s life? We can help. Click here to learn more about trauma treatment services at Family & Children’s Services.

New Ideas in Health Care Benefit Clients, Entire Community – By Dianne Hughes, Program Director, Case Management and Special Projects

We hear a lot these days about the poor state of health in Oklahoma as compared to the rest of the nation. Perhaps you’ve also heard the news that people diagnosed with a serious mental illness are at a higher risk of premature death. Earlier this month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/Health Resources Services Administration Center for Integrated Health Solutions explained that these premature deaths are “largely due to complications from untreated, preventable chronic illnesses like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, which are aggravated by poverty-driven health choices, like poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and smoking.”

We at Family & Children’s Services are acutely aware of this problem. Many of our clients don’t have a regular medical doctor. They use the emergency room for their health care or, sadly, forgo needed medical attention. Through a partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation and Morton Comprehensive Health Services, Family & Children’s Services took a bold step to help improve the health of our clients by opening a medical clinic in October 2011 inside the Sarah & John Graves Center.  

Currently, the clinic operates one day a week and is available for adults receiving mental health services from Family & Children’s Services. Clinic patients may also receive free medication as prescribed by a Morton medical provider. Patients receive treatment for colds and other minor complaints and serious, chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

So, can one day a week really help? By mid-February, 281 clients had been seen during the clinic’s 16 operating days. Over 70 percent of those served said they didn’t have a primary care physician and, instead, used to visit hospital emergency rooms for care. More than 20 percent didn’t seek care when sick. But now, these individuals have a resource for getting treatment and, just as important, managing their wellness.

The direct impact on our clients and their loved ones is evident. However, our community as a whole benefits, too, through less crowded emergency rooms and lower health care costs. 

Mental Illness Impacts 1 in 5 Americans, report shows

A new national report reveals that 45.9 million American adults aged 18 or older, or 20 percent of this age group, experienced mental illness in the past year. The rate of mental illness was more than twice as high among those aged 18 to 25 (29.9 percent) than among those aged 50 and older (14.3 percent). Adult women were also more likely than men to have experienced mental illness in the past year (23 percent versus 16.8 percent).

 

To read the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s full news release on the study, click here.

Fun & Free Time Together as a Family

Too often, parents find themselves caught in a game of “gimme” with their children – as in, “Gimme this, Mom.” or “Dad, can you gimme a new video game?” However, how much money you spend on your kids matters less than how much time you spend with them.

Tulsa World Blogger Natalie Mikles has some fantasic ideas for spending time together as a family free or on the cheap. We have a few other suggestions:

Have a board game night. Younger children can be paired up with older kids or parents. Reading game cards reinforces language skills, and moving the pawn and handling money helps with mathematics.

Channel Scheherezade, the fabled Persian storyteller. She told a story that lasted 1,001 nights, ending each night’s session on a suspenseful note. Let every member of the family have an opportunity to tell part of the story you create together.

Go dancing without the stars. Turn on some music and cut a rug on your own rug. It’s a great way to get some exercise and is likely to leave everyone giggling.

Stage your own “Chopped” challenge. Set out an array of motley ingredients, start a timer and tell your little chef to create a culinary masterpiece. Plan to be on hand to help younger children with cutting and any cooking required, but let their creativity guide the final product.

 

 

Do Your Part — By Carrie Little, Family Life Education Program Coordinator

“He isn’t even trying anymore.”

“She doesn’t care.”

 

Sound familiar?  If so, you are not alone.  Many couples go through times when one or both feel that they are the only one “working” on the relationship.  It becomes frustrating to reflect on your relationship and see only those things that you do to make your relationship work.  It can become a habit to focus only on those things that your partner ISN’T doing.  When this habit forms it is likely that other bad habits form in its wake, including bouts of escalation when trying to discuss issues with your partner, or starting sentences that begin with, “You never… ” or “You always… .”

Especially if you have children together, it is important to find ways of relating to one another without damaging your closeness.  One way to begin this process is called “Do Your Part.”  This concept relies greatly on your ability to look closely at your thoughts and actions to bring about change in your relationship.  In other words, in every situation, find a way to do the best you can.  Whether that be choosing not to yell and scream, or choosing to do something nice for your partner even in times of irritation. 

This does not mean you can change your relationship on your own.  It takes two to make a relationship work over time.  However, if both you and your partner begin a daily practice of “Do Your Part,” the need for each to focus on the other’s bad behavior will cease.  This involves trust.  You have to trust that your partner is doing everything he or she can to make your relationship and family life work, and vice versa.  This also involves a lot of respect and kindness, both toward yourself and your partner.

“Do Your Part” can change the tone of your relationship.  You will begin to process events in a different way.  Instead of automatically going toward the one thing your partner did wrong, you will be thinking in “I” statements instead.  Like, “What could I have done to make that conversation better?”  or, “What could I do today to make my relationship stronger?” 

 

If you would like to learn more about “Do Your Part,” and other concepts and skills to make your relationship strong, Family & Children’s Services offers a free class called Forever. For Real. In this class, couples learn together the skills needed to create a lasting and loving partnership.

White Party Raises $150,000 for Family & Children’s Services

Thanks to all who made White Party No. 9 the most successful in our event’s history. More than 50 sponsors, 800+ attendees, and $150,000 raised for Family & Children’s Services! If you attended, enjoy this fantastic recap video and the memories of our night. If you missed it, you’ll see what you missed out on and why you need to attend ‪#‎WP10‬!

 

 

Family & Children’s Services Women in Recovery Program Depicts The Art of Recovery

Tulsa World’s feature showcases Family & Children’s Services Women in Recovery program, funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which, in part, helps women overcome drug addiction through creative expression.

Click here to read the Tulsa World article

 

 

Related Stories:

State Senator Mazzei’s Message of Hope for WIR Participants

Family & Children’s Services Women in Recovery Wins National Addiction Treatment Award

 

F&CS Staff, Clients Attend My Mind Matters Mental Health and Substance Abuse Rally at State Capitol

Facing devastating funding cuts, Family & Children’s Services staff and clients joined hundreds of mental health advocates for the “My Mind Matters” rally at the Capitol on Thursday, April 21, 2016. Terri White, Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), called on attendees to make their voices heard and visit with lawmakers to express their disapproval of the proposed $23 million in state cuts. Citing the far-reaching impact, White said slashing funding will harm those who need help the most. ODMHSAS estimates more than 73,000 Oklahomans will face significantly reduced services.

KTUL NewsChannel 8 covered the rally. Watch the story here.

 

Capitol 4.21.2016

(left to right) Family & Children’s Services Marketing and Community Relations Manager, Tracey McCalman, F&CS Clinical Intake Manager, Kristy Matthes, F&CS client Desmond Peterson, Terri White, Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

 

Capitol3 4.21.2016

Family & Children’s Services staff and clients attending the “My Mind Matters” rally at the Capitol.

Capitol Tracey Melanie 4.21.2016

Family & Children’s Chief Communications Officer, Melanie Henry, and Tracey McCalman, Marketing and Community Relations Manager, met with dozens of legislators at the state Capitol.

 

 

 

Boy Scouts Honors F&CS with Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award

The Indian Nations Council, Boy Scouts of America honored Family & Children’s Services with the prestigious Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award Thursday, April 14, 2016 at The Mayo Hotel, 115 W. 5th Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The mission of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award Luncheon is to celebrate community resources in support of the Scouting Program for at-risk youth, and further provide experiences that develop self-esteem, character values and life skills. The national Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award is designed to recognize “unsung herores”- those who do exceptional service for disadvantaged youth.

2016 recipients include; Marquay Baul, Tulsa Boys Home, Hannibal Johnson, Sarah and John Graves, Reverend Clarence Boyd, Family & Children’s Services, Mark Walker, Spirit AeroSystems and Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Cherokee Nation.

 

 

Your Chance to Participate in Homelessness in Tulsa Survey

23 agencies in Tulsa, including Family & Children’s Services, have a goal to end chronic homelessness. Together we are working to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring.

There are hundreds of situations that lead to people becoming homelessness. Some situations can be remedied fairly quickly, perhaps with a job, rent assistance, or help getting into a new apartment. Other situations can lead to long-term homelessness, such as mental illness or disability. The 23 agencies at A Way Home for Tulsa work collaboratively to prevent, end and shorten bouts of homelessness in our community. The agencies work with veterans, families, youth, those experiencing recurring homelessness, and even those who are almost homeless (to keep them from losing their housing).

The Zero: 2016 initiative focuses primarily on two groups: veterans and those who are chronically homeless. We have a moral imperative to help those who have served our country and those homeless individuals who are most vulnerable. That is why we are working with great focus and effort to find homes for all of our veterans and chronically homeless. In doing so, we are also creating a better overall system, so that when new veterans and others find themselves on the street, we’re ready with the services, resources, and a home…so that their time on the street is reduced significantly and they can move toward a better life.

We began this initiative with an estimated number of veterans and chronically homeless which provided a starting point; we are going to find houses for 289 veterans by the end of 2015 and homes for 95 individuals who are chronically homeless by the end of 2016.

These goals are just a starting point; now that we’re working together we are able to more accurately identify individuals in our community who need the most help. Starting in 2016 A Way Home for Tulsa will move away from the estimated numbers, and have a specific list (that will change almost daily) so that we can best help our neighbors find a home.

Thank you for taking 10 to 15 minutes out of your day to complete this survey. All completed surveys will be entered into a drawing for $100; the selected winner can select a $100 Visa Gift card or a donation to one of the AWH4T agencies involved in Zero: 2016 Tulsa.

Family & Children’s Services CEO Honored by League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa honored 34 women, including Family & Children’s Services CEO Gail Lapidus, at the annual Madam President event. The evening, billed as “A Night to Honor Women Who Could Be President”, was held at the Center for Creativity at Tulsa Community College, 909 S. Boston Avenue, Tulsa. The honorees ranged in age from nine to 90 years old and were nominated by the Tulsa community. Honorees were described as, “The woman who isn’t afraid to lead, isn’t afraid to speak up, and never shies away from serving her community.”

GL Felicia Madam Pres 4.12.2016

Pictured left to right- Gail Lapidus and Felicia Collins Correia

Gail Madam President 4.11.2016

Pictured left to right: Mimi Tarrasch, Felicia Collins Correia, Krista Lewis, Melanie Henry, Jill Young, Whitney Downie, Claudia Arthrell, Gail Lapidus

 

2016 Madam President Nominees
Anna America
Sue Ames
Maria Barnes
Ziva Branstetter
Lauren Brookey
Rosie Brown
Adedolisdi Burton
Shelley Cadamy
Trinity Cadamy
Sheryl Chinowth
Stephanie Conduff
Desiree Doherty
Diana Downing
Judy Eason-McIntyre
Vanessa Finley
Deborah Gist
Lydia Gonzalez-D’Ross
Leigh Goodson
Vanessa Hall-Harper
Joy Hofmeister
Deanne Hughes
Gail Lapidus
Paula Marshall
Jeannie McDaniel
Violet Patterson
Whitney Pearson
Floretta Reed
Patty Southmayd
Ethel St John
Sheila Swearingen
Kathy Taylor
Emma Thadani
Corey Williams
Shagah Zakerion

F&CS Participates in Community Forum on Child Abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and  tomorrow’s free community forum, hosted by the Child Protection Coalition, will focus on prevention and offer insight into the changing landscape of child protection in Tulsa County. The two-hour seminar on Tuesday, April 5, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., will be in the Price Turpen Courtroom at the University of Tulsa College of Law.

Child welfare experts will make up a panel to provide an in-depth look at the issues including Christine Marsh, director of child abuse and trauma services; Kelli Mounce, systems of care project director at Indian Health Care Resource Center; Rose Turner, Child Abuse Network managing director, and Crystal Brill, DVIS Children’s Trauma Counseling Program manager.

Tulsa World reporter Ginnie Graham will be the moderator.

Channel 8 covered the forum- click here to read the story.

2016 Community Forum on Child Abuse - Flyer

F&CS Job Fair with Onsite Interviews Scheduled March 24

Family & Children’s Services is hosting a job fair on Thursday, March 24 from 2:30-4:30pm at the Central Office, 650 South Peoria, Tulsa, OK 74120.

The job fair will feature onsite interviews with representatives from the following programs in attendance.

  • Child Family Strengthening Center (Child & Adult)
  • Early Childhood Program
  • Health Home
  • Child Abuse & Trauma Services
  • School-Based Counseling
  • Substance Abuse & Addiction
  • Homeless Outreach
  • CrisisCare Center
  • COPES- Community Outreach Psychiatric Emergency Services
  • WIR- Women in Recovery
  • Systems of Care
  • Adult Mental Health

                   – Specialized Outpatient Services

                    -Intake

                    -Transitional Care Program

                    -Program of Assertive Community Treatment

 

To learn more about the positions and review descriptions, please visit our Career Center. 

OSU Center for Health Sciences to begin psychiatric residency program

Family & Children’s Services CEO Gail Lapidus addresses the shortage of psychiatrists in Tulsa which hampers mental health access. She praises Oklahoma State University’s bold initiative to establish a psychiatry residency will ultimately result in a significant increase of psychiatrists in our state — a critical factor to improving access to care in Oklahoma.

Read the entire Tulsa World article here

‘Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform’ Kick Off Statewide Effort to Collect Signatures for Ballot Initiative

TULSA, Okla. Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform officially kicked off its effort to collect more than 65,000 petition signatures needed to qualify its two state questions for the November ballot. State questions 780 and 781 – which would reduce the prison population, redirect savings toward addressing the root causes of crime, and help low-level offenders turn their lives around – have generated significant support since their announcement last month. Former House Speaker Kris Steele, the Chair of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, joined alongside some of Oklahoma’s most respected leaders in January to announce the ballot measures, which have generated significant support among some of the state’s most prominent faith leaders, business leaders, policy experts, community leaders and advocates, and treatment and rehabilitation providers, among others.

“We’re excited to kick off this next phase of the campaign, taking the issue directly to the voters of Oklahoma so they can weigh in on whether it’s time to take a smarter approach to public safety,” said Kris Steele, Chair of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform. “Since we announced the ballot measures last month, we have generated tremendous support from all across the state. It’s clear that Oklahomans are ready to reduce spending on prison expansion and redirect taxpayer resources to effective treatment and rehabilitation programs that will provide the necessary help needed to turn people’s lives around, to get them back on track, and to become contributing members of our communities.”

Today, at two separate campaign rally events in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Steele and the coalition brought together volunteers and supporters from across the state to officially kick off the signature collection effort, highlighting the importance of the initiatives before deploying campaign volunteers into communities to begin taking the message directly to the voters.

“In my years in public service I have rarely seen an issue that unites more Oklahomans from across the political spectrum than the issue of reforming our state’s criminal justice system,” said former Oklahoma Gov. Brady Henry. “With Oklahoma facing a budget shortfall, and with the cost of incarceration continuing to grow, it’s clear that the time to take a smarter approach toward investing taxpayer resources is now. This effort will not only save taxpayer dollars, it will invest them in addressing the root causes of crime, increasing public safety and keep our communities safe.”

“Once an individual is strapped with a conviction, it creates hurdles for them, especially around employment,” said Mike Neal, President and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “This initiative recognizes the importance of job training and employment programs by providing a vehicle to fund these important programs in the future.  This initiative will help people turn their lives around, become productive members of their communities, and strengthen Oklahoma’s economic engine by growing our workforce and ensuring our businesses have access to the unique talents of all Oklahomans.”

“Oklahoma’s faith community has a strong legacy of leading on important issues that impact our neighbors, families, friends and communities,” said Rev. Ray Owens, Pastor of the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Tulsa. “Helping to make sure that every Oklahoman has a shot at redemption, a chance to turn their lives around, and reunite with their families, is one of the most important efforts Oklahoma’s faith community can lead on. We are proud to support this effort which reflects the values and priorities of Oklahoma’s faithful, and are ready to put words into action by helping to generate the support needed for success in November.”

Oklahoma has the second-highest overall incarceration rate in the country and the highest incarceration rate for women, which costs taxpayers nearly $500 million annually and drains significant resources away from investments that can do more to enhance public safety. As the state’s prison population continues growing – increasing by 12 percent between 2009 and 2014 – so does its price tag, which has increased by 172 percent in the past two decades.

 

The Ballot Measures

Through two ballot measures – Questions 780 and 781 – the coalition is working to pursue sentencing reforms for certain low-level offenses, which trigger cost savings to be invested in evidence-based programs to treat drug addiction and mental health conditions and provide access to education and job training, which are more effective approaches to reducing crime and keeping communities safe.

Question 780 would reclassify certain low-level offenses, like drug possession and low-level property offenses, as misdemeanors instead of felonies. By reclassifying these offenses, Oklahoma is able to trigger cost savings from decreased corrections spending. Secondly, Question 781 would then invest those cost savings into addressing the root causes of crime through rehabilitation programs to treat drug addiction and mental health conditions that often contribute to criminal behavior and go untreated in prison, and education and job training programs to help low-level offenders turn their lives around, find employment, and avoid going back to prison.

“Having grown up as a child in an environment riddled with substance abuse and drug addiction, I quickly turned to alcohol and drugs in my youth, modeling the behaviors I had witnessed since birth,” said Amanda Spicer, a graduate from Women in Recovery. “After I was released from prison, I found myself free from incarceration, but not free from addiction, and so I continued my run-ins with the justice system, until I eventually got the help I needed to get sober. I turned my life around and am now the proud mother of a beautiful girl, and I’m supporting this initiative because I know that the smartest way to reduce our prison population and make our communities safer is to treat people with health conditions like drug abuse, so they can return to living productive lives in their communities.”

“Receiving rehabilitative treatment, for me, completely changed my life and empowered me so that I could give back to my community,” said Meagan Gaddis, the Continuing Care Coordinator for ReMerge. “I feel the opportunities that I received should be more widely available to others because it would open up vast amounts of potential in countless communities across the state. Being able to look at addiction through the lens of people in need of treatment rather than people that need to be punished would greatly benefit individuals and their families. Rehabilitation programs have allowed me to grow into a better mother for my children and allowed me to pursue my career goals, including pursuing my bachelor’s degree. But, most importantly, it has allowed me to obtain a life of recovery and give back to others who are in need.”

Supporters of the ballot measures span the political spectrum and represent the diverse views and concerns of Oklahomans everywhere. Some of the coalition’s many partners and members include Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Right on Crime of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Policy Institute, George Kaiser Family Foundation, ACLU of Oklahoma, Inasmuch Foundation, Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma Women’s Coalition, ReMerge, TEEM, The Oklahoma Academy, Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce, Women in Recovery, and the YWCA of Tulsa. Some of the prominent leaders supporting the effort, and who spoke today at the two campaign rallies, include Tom Ward, CEO, Tapstone Energy; Estela Hernandez, Vice President of Engagement, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs; Rev. Theodis Manning, Senior Pastor of Divine Wisdom Worship Center; Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director, ACLU of Oklahoma; Stephanie Horten, Director, Women’s Defense Team, and; Adam Luck, Oklahoma State Director, Right on Crime.

More information about the initiative, and Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, can be found on its website at www.OKJusticeReform.org. Updates on the coalition’s efforts can also be seen on Twitter at @OKJusticeReform and on Facebook at /OKJusticeReform.

WIR OK for Criminal Justice Reform 3.10.2016

Pictured L to R

  • Amy Santee, Senior Program Officer at GKFF
  • Amanda Spicer, WIR Graduate
  • Adam Luck, Oklahoma Director of Right on Crime
  • Kris Steele, Chair of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform
  • Mike Neal, President of Tulsa Regional Chamber
  • Stephanie Horten, Director of the Women’s Defense Team
  • Ray Owens, Senior Pastor at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Tulsa

Contact: Will Hodges

whodges@saxum.com

www.OKJusticeReform.org

@OKJusticeReform