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For the Children- Oct. 13, 2016
Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!
With Halloween approaching, everyone has to be on the watch for ghouls and goblins. That does not mean to be fearful, but to be careful as children are out collecting bags full of treats. Our friends at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) put together some great tips, so we wanted to share these with you so your Halloween will be enjoyable and less of a stress.
ALL DRESSED UP:
Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
HOME SAFE HOME:
To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, residents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
Residents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL:
A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
Never cut across yards or use alleys.
Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!
Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.
Please consider each of these tips as you prepare for the upcoming holiday! From those of us at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, have a happy and safe Halloween!
(Joe Dorman serves as the CEO for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. The mission of OICA is creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.)
Annual ‘KIDS COUNT Conference’ Slated Nov. 2-3
OKLAHOMA CITY (17 October 2016) – The Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Conference – featuring a Harvard University researcher, keynote speakers focusing on equity and disparity concerns, alumni of Oklahoma’s foster care system, early childhood, high-risk families, mental health and substance abuse, plus lively panels – will be held early next month.
The annual event is slated Nov. 2-3 at the Nigh Center on the Edmond campus of the University of Central Oklahoma.
The two-day conference, which originally was called the Fall Forum, “assembles many of the brightest minds in Oklahoma regarding children’s policies to discuss issues that affect children in our state,” said Joe Dorman, chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA).
The conference “helps formulate a legislative agenda to encourage policymakers to focus on the critical needs facing our state’s children,” said Dorman, who served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for 12 years. Legislators have been invited to attend the KIDS COUNT Conference as observers, “to share ideas and meet constituents,” Dorman said.
The KIDS COUNT Conference is the state’s premier event that provides training to improve the lives of Oklahoma children and opportunities to examine pertinent issues.
Topics of discussion this year will include foster parent training, early childhood development, substance abuse, family preservation, domestic violence in the lives of children, youth homelessness, human trafficking, poverty, and the school-to-prison ‘pipeline’. Workshops will be held with experts in several fields to share their expertise on topics ranging from child welfare and the Department of Human Services’ Pinnacle Plan, child hunger, mental health and wellness, etc.
Kicking off the conference will be Justin Evers, a third-grader who was selected by the OICA and Sunbeam Family Services to be the first “Kid Governor of Oklahoma”. During Justin’s term he has addressed various issues affecting the well-being of Oklahoma children, particularly foster care. His parents, Lindel and Shannon Evers, are foster parents.
The agenda also will include a panel of state agency directors and leaders discussing state policy and budgetary issues that affect their field of work. Participants will include Department of Human Services Director Ed Lake, State Supt. of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, and state leaders representing Oklahoma’s health, mental health, and juvenile justice agencies.
Dr. Tom Sander, a noted researcher from Harvard, will be the luncheon keynote speaker Nov. 2. https://www.hks.harvard. edu/saguaro/staff/sander.htm. His presentation – “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” – will explore issues of inequality and opportunity, and the growing class gap among U.S. young people.
The Laura Choate Resilience Award winner will be recognized, too. The award celebrates individuals who have been significantly affected by adverse childhood experiences but have overcome obstacles, made a lasting contribution to the lives of young people, and inspire resilience in youth.
The award is named for Laura Choate, a lifelong advocate for Oklahoma children; she has worked with the OICA to reform the state’s child welfare and juvenile justice system to better serve and protect Oklahoma children. http://oica.org/ laura-choate-resilience-award/
“I look forward to the policy discussions and hearing from the experts we have assembled,” Dorman said. “If you live in Oklahoma and work with children’s policies, you’ll want to attend this gathering.”
This year’s conference will be co-hosted by the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, Sunbeam Family Services and the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth. Registration can be performed online at http://oica.org/.