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Hundreds gather at Oklahoma Capitol rally for developmentally disabled

Officials say thousands of Oklahomans are on a waiting list for disabilities services.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: April 17, 2014 at 10:17 pm •  Published: April 18, 2014

Developmentally disabled Oklahomans along with their advocates and caregivers gathered at the state Capitol on Thursday to rally and meet with lawmakers.

Mark L. Jones, Department of Human Services Community Living and Support Services director, gave the opening remarks to the crowd of more than 700, followed by members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives including Joe Dorman, Pat Ownbey, Jason Nelson, Scott Inman, Jadine Nollan, and Sens. A.J. Griffin and Constance N. Johnson.

The Developmental Disabilities Services waiting list holds the names of nearly 7,000 Oklahomans who are seeking services from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Some have been waiting as long as eight years, said Kevan Goff-Parker, a spokeswoman for DHS Developmental Disabilities Services.

Participants at Thursday’s rally said they hope lawmakers will approve additional funding.

Judy Goodwin, executive director of Oklahoma Community Based Providers, a nonprofit association that provides education, advocacy, representation and networking to Oklahoma agencies that serve the developmentally disabled, addressed the crowd about the need for increased state assistance, according to a news release from Goff-Parker.

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