A pilot program to reduce child abuse and neglect is showing results and should continue to receive state funding, a coordinator of the program told a state House committee Thursday.
The Safe Care Plus program consists of teaching basic skills to parents of children ranging in age from infants to 5 years old in high-risk households, said Jane Silovsky with the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The program, which will receive about $550,000 from the Department of Human Services this fiscal year, provides information to parents such as child nutrition, the importance of giving children their medicine and appropriate medical care, she said. Parents practice the new skills and in some cases also are told about agencies that can help deal with domestic violence or substance abuse, she said. The program operates in Oklahoma and Payne counties to determine the needs of urban and rural parents, she said. About 400 families have been served by the program since it started in 2003. Silovsky told members of the House Human Services Committee the program should continue for at least five more years to determine which approaches could be developed statewide. In addition to receiving state money, the program this year will receive about $1.3 million in federal funds. It also received an additional $2.5 million federal grant to reach out to more children and to look at ways to reduce violence in families. For more information about the program, call Bridget Carr at 858-2797.