OJA youth services could receive additional $1.5 MillionMay 18, 2021 | Headlines
OKLAHOMA CITY – The House of Representatives today unanimously passed a bill that will increase funding for the Community Based Youth Services Division of the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) by $1.5 million over the current year’s appropriation. The additional money can be used in either Fiscal Year 2022 or 2023.
Reps. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, and Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa, requested House Bill 2905.
Conley explained the additional dollars will be allocated to the Oklahoma Associations of Youth Services and the 38 agencies that serve in every county across Oklahoma operating under the umbrella of the Community Based Youth Services Division of OJA.
“I am so excited to be able to get additional dollars to these agencies that are the boots on the ground in providing services to our communities and schools,” Conley said. “These dollars will provide preventative and intervention services for children and families. This additional funding will help ensure we have the wrap-around services available especially after such a challenging year.”
“I’m glad to see this important bill which invests in our youth services programs pass the House with unanimous bipartisan support,” Lawson said. “I hope the Senate sees the importance of this measure and acts quickly to approve it.”
Oklahoma Association of Youth Services oversees the various agencies and providers OJA partners with to collaborate on how to most effectively and efficiently serve the youth and families of Oklahoma. OAYS employs qualified professionals within the 38 member agencies that provide one-on-one, family and group counseling services. Each Youth Services Agency has 24-hour emergency support and staff members on call. Supervision, training and experience prepare staff members to deal with a multitude of youth-related challenges, Conley said.
Exclusive to Oklahoma, no other state has the benefit of this type of public-private partnership created to serve local communities, she said. Realizing the full potential of youth and family services, they provide universal access to quality, individualized community-based services that positively impact children, youth, and families to drive a new era of development, growth, and collaborative community productivity.
HB 2905 passed the House with a vote of 93-0 and now moves to the state Senate.