Branham to Host Youth Provider Summit
Mike Seals - August 27, 2020 10:04 am
OKLAHOMA CITY — State Rep. Chelsey Branham, D-OKC, is scheduled to host a Youth Provider Summit on Sept. 10 to amplify the need to act on Oklahoma’s homeless and system-involved youth problems.
The OKC Metro lawmaker plans on inviting providers of youth homeless, foster care, and juvenile affairs services from across the state. Branham also wants to invite state lawmakers to the summit to hear from the people working on these issues.
“The summit will have several presenters available to paint a more realistic picture of Oklahoma’s youth population than one that is commonly thought of by many Oklahomans,” Branham said. “Several of my colleagues, through no fault of their own, may believe that homeless youth, youth aging out of care, and youth incarceration is strictly an urban population. That’s just not the case. These phenomena are an issue in nearly all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.”
Lawmakers in attendance will be presented with data specific to their district.
In the last Fiscal Year, more than 1,700 Oklahoma youth took refuge in one of the Oklahoma Association of Youth Services Child Emergency Response Centers, and the numbers are even higher when you consider those that are not system involved.
“We live in the richest nation in the history of the world,” Branham said. “It would be irresponsible for us as a society not to use our resources to help these children.”
The summit will also focus on the state’s growing number of juvenile offenders and the resources available to them. Oklahoma has thousands of juvenile offenders each year.
“Homelessness and incarceration go hand in hand at every age,” Branham said. “Connecting these issues and solving them at the youth-level is a form of proactive societal prevention that will pay dividends for generations to come.”
Due to COVID, the summit is slated to be a hybrid model of virtual and in-person presentations. If you would like to participate in the summit, please call (405)577-7409 or email [email protected].