Lawmakers said earlier this year they believed there would be momentum this session to pass bills addressing Oklahoma’s maternal health care problems and expanding family supports after the state enacted a near-total ban on abortions last year.
Administrators say staff are frequently working 12-hour shifts, and though they try to avoid them, 16-hour shifts are sometimes necessary. Forty-eight out of 115 front-line positions are currently open.
In Oklahoma, parents have a right to an attorney, but the state doesn’t currently have the funding or systems in place to ensure high-quality legal representation. Judges and lawyers say it contributes to fewer family reunifications and kids spending a longer time in state custody.
Many of the bills are pulled directly from recommendations from the HELP task force Gov. Kevin Stitt created to study how to support women through unplanned or crisis pregnancies after abortion was banned in the state last year.