Health department cuts slash program helping rural parents raise children

Posted at 6:02 PM, Oct 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 21:10:29-04

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Department of Health said in just a couple of weeks it's cutting funding to a program that helps parents in crisis learn how to raise their children.

One of the nine sites in Oklahoma, Help In Crisis, received word last week the state would be cutting $200,000 from the Help You Grow (HUG) program.

"When I got the call—first I was shocked and then I thought to myself,’oh how am I going to tell my employees? How am I going to tell them that this program is gone?’” said Laura Kuester, Help In Crisis Director.

The program funds four case workers who visit families in rural eastern Oklahoma.

The workers said they’re helping 138 families in Cherokee, Adair, Sequoyah and Wagoner counties.

They teach parents how to raise their children, give them parenting advice and ensure children are developing properly before they get to preschool.

The team in Tahlequah is working to make sure those parents are prepared before funding dries out November 15.

”That’s been our main focus, just one-by-one to come up with the right words to tell them that we’re sorry and to try to help to have a packet together, so it’s some form of something they can go to,” said Sarah Frankie, HUG Program Supervisor.

Oklahoma Department of Health said the cut would help save the agency $3 million.

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