Wednesday, September 1, 2010

State Department of Education: Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships Page

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has created a new page on its website that provides important information about House Bill 3393, the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program passed during the 2010 legislative session.

The new page includes a letter to superintendents as well as a list of participating private schools. Superintendent Sandy Garrett and her staff have worked hard and done a great job in implementing this new program.

Report on Recent Candidate Forum on Disability Issues

This post links to an news story written by Clint Sloan who covered the recent candidate forum I attended where issues important to Oklahomans with disabilities where discussed.

I quickly hit the high points of the work I've been doing since being elected in 2008 within the five minutes each candidate had to speak and answer questions. I thought the forum went well and I appreciated the opportunity visit with those in attendance.

I continue to work with the Developmental Disabilities Services Division at DHS to address the huge number of Oklahomans on the Waiting List for disability services. I will be attending the Waiting List Meeting tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at DHS.

I also mentioned the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program that became effective the day before.

POLITICS: Candidates discuss disability issues

08/30/2010 by Clint Sloan

"(POL) Seventeen candidates - along with one liaison to a candidate - running for state and federal offices spoke at a Saturday forum discussing issues affecting disabled citizens.

"The event occurred at the Oklahoma History Center and was sponsored by the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council and the Heartland Council for the Blind. The candidates discussed education, transportation, budgetary matters and job creation, along with other issues."

Click here to read the complete eCapitol story.

Adoptions and birth certificates

(This letter was forwarded to me recenly via email and I'm posting it here for informational purposes. I understand that it was printed by the Tulsa World on August 28, 2010. I have not taken a position on this proposal. I do welcome your thoughts and suggestions. The reference to the work being done by me and Sen. Russell is refering to the two of us co-chairing the Adoption Review Task Force. The goal, in part, of the Task Force is to review all state laws related to the adoption of minors and make suggestions to the Legislature that will reduce fraud.)

Letter to the Editor by: Samantha Franklin, Bixby
Saturday, August 28, 2010

As an adult adoptee I appreciate the work Sen. Steve Russell and Rep. Jason Nelson are doing to better ensure more ethical adoption in Oklahoma.

When a child is born in Oklahoma and adopted, the birth certificate is sealed, and a new, amended birth certificate is created. Children born after 1997 have the right to obtain their original birth certificate upon adulthood. Adoptees born before 1997 can obtain it if a judge rules "good cause."

There is no law in Oklahoma that mandates adoption professionals to ensure the children they work with even have a factual, unfalsified original birth certificate. Please help ensure that our original birth certificates are factual and unfalsified.

This should be a situation that all Oklahomans, including adoptive parents, should take notice of if they think ethical adoption is important. Adoptees are considered as perpetual children in the eyes of the law and are being denied their medical and genealogical histories and truth. This is a generational issue, for all adoptees, their families (both by birth and adoption) and their children after them.

Unfortunately, many unethical practices are being hidden behind archaic "sealed records" laws. Even district attorneys' hands are tied to properly investigate because all adoption proceedings are sealed upon completion. Oklahoma needs to take a serious look at the states that have passed legislation restoring the right of adult adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates.
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