Oklahoma: Talking about Supporting Families at the State Level

In the face of serious budget shortfalls in Oklahoma (Link: Revenue failure: State agencies face cuts of 2 percent to 4 percent), the state of Oklahoma is looking for ways to expand supports available to individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) and their families.  The Oklahoma CoP team has a great opportunity to impact supports for ALL individuals and families as the state looks to move forward with the recommendations of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP), the chief aim of which was to put together recommendations to decrease the waitlist, expand and enhance current supports.

The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel began convening in 2013. Recommendations from the panel, which included individuals with DD, family members, and professionals from the DD field, included increasing family-to-family support.  The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel’s first recommendation was fulfilled by the creation of the Oklahoma Executive Council (EC). The agency directors that make up the Executive Council include: 

  • CEO of OK Health Care Authority,
  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction,
  • Director of Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services,
  • Commissioner of OK Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services,
  • Chancellor of OK State System of Higher Education,
  • Director of OK DHS,
  • Secretary of HHS and
  • the Secretary of Education and Workforce Development. 

The Executive Council will address implementation of recommendations of the BRP and BRP members will be advisors (Link: https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/executive/973.pdf). 

Members of the Oklahoma Community of Practice team have been attending the EC meetings and will be presenting the LifeCourse framework to the state agency directors. Since we know that people with developmental disabilities represent a part of each of the agencies’ ALLs, we are excited to see what changes take place as a result of the OK team sharing information about the All, Integrated Supports, and the Trajectory to a Good Life.

To view Oklahoma’s 2015 One-Pager, which outlines the state of services and supports in the state and the CoP Team’s Goals and Activities, follow this link: http://supportstofamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/ok-one-pager-2015.pdf



Rachel is the Media & Design Specialist on the Family to Family team at the UMKC-Institute for Human Development, UCEDD. She completed her Master's in Public Administration with an emphasis in nonprofit management at UMKC. She is proud to say she is a second generation AmeriCorps member! Her passion is where social justice and technology meet. Her specialty is making projects, programs, and organizations look good.

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