OKLAHOMA CITY – One of the most important events on the annual calendar of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is our Fall Forum.
Held each October or November, this event is where advocates from across the state come together to help set the Children’s Legislative Agenda. This year’s event will begin virtually this Friday (Nov. 3) from 9:30 -11 a.m. and then continue in person at the State Capitol on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, Nov. 8-10.
There is still time for you to register and be a part of this important conference designed to bring advocates, lawmakers, and subjectmatter experts together to develop the best agenda possible to improve the lives of Oklahoma’s youngest residents and our best hope for the future.
Thanks to our generous sponsors, registration is only $75 for the entire conference. You can register online at https://oica.org/ event/2023-fall-forum/ The online portion of the conference on the Zoom format will provide important prep work for the in-person event during which we will discuss the Four Key Pillars of Fall Forum. This year, those are:
• Foster Youth Issues.
• Counseling, Mental Health, and Learning Loss.
• Access to Children’s Support Programs.
• Child Abuse Prevention.
During the online meeting, advocates will be using Jamboard, a digital white board that will allow us to collaborate in real time during the Zoom meeting to develop ideas to be expanded upon during our in-person event.
It is important to note that the $75 registration fee is an even better bargain this year because it is being enhanced by our Advocacy Boot Camp, which is set for Wednesday, Nov. 8 at the first day of our in-person conference. We will be examining the power of nonprofit advocacy, the legislative process, reports on the Legislature’s current list of interim studies on children’s issues and tour the newly renovated State Capitol Building.
The Advocacy Boot Camp is going to expand in 2024 to be a full curriculum on the importance and impact of advocacy, where participants will meet several times across the state and conduct of public service project. There will be more shared during Fall Forum about this new opportunity for enhanced advocacy.
During the Thursday (Nov. 9) and Friday (Nov. 10) sessions at the State Capitol, advocates will do a deep dive into the issues that are important to Oklahoma’s children, begin guided by the four pillars of the event. In addition, advocates will receive a comprehensive report on the work of Governor Stitt’s Oklahoma Child Welfare Task Force.
The Advocacy Boot Camp will give advocates the tools to succeed, while the Fall Forum process will guide them in developing an agenda to make tomorrow better for our state’s children. This process has been extraordinarily effective in creating positive change for an even better future for Oklahoma’s children.
Among the policy initiatives that found their genesis at past Fall Forums has been to increase teacher pay, improve maternity leave for school district and state employees, protecting students’ rights to wear tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies, and enhancing state support for access to local fresh fruits and vegetables for families. We also will discuss those policies that may be harmful to children that we should oppose.
There is no better way than Fall Forum and the Advocacy Boot Camp for advocates to lay the groundwork for a brighter future for Oklahoma’s children, and we hope you can join us for this event.