Youth Services Could Benefit from ARPA Funds

Sep 28, 2022

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Association of Youth Services (OAYS) is expected to receive almost $30.7 million to help provide for capital needs and updates across the system pending approval of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding legislation to be presented in this week's special legislative session.

Reps. Carl Newton, R-Cherokee, and Mike Dobrinski, R-Okeene have a project in their districts that will directly benefit from the funding if approved.

Western Plains Youth & Family Services in Woodward would receive $915,100 to create a flexible indoor/outdoor space to expand the organization's services while increasing safety precautions for clients and staff. This multipurpose space will comply with pandemic recommendations of open air ventilation and social distancing and will be easy to sanitize for safer interactions. An upgraded air filtration system and new flooring will further protect clients and staff from the spread of viruses and diseases.

""The purpose behind funding many of these facilities like the one in Woodward is that they have not received significant capital investments in decades,"" the lawmakers said in a joint statement. ""With changing needs in society, many of these buildings need new features, expanded spaces, and different capabilities to meet the needs of the youth of today. We're grateful that this center that serves so many in our House districts is set to receive this needed funding and that many youth across the state will benefit as well.""

Oklahoma Association of Youth Services works with member agencies to improve the overall health and well-being of Oklahoma children and families through advocacy, training, and technical assistance, with a focus on providing needs to help stabilize youth in extreme circumstances.

The appropriation was approved by House and Senate Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding based on the recommendation of the Health and Human Services Working group.

The request will be presented in the form of legislation when the Legislature reconvenes Sept. 29 in the Second Extraordinary Session of the 58th Legislature. The session was called for the purpose of expending ARPA and other funds to projects that will result in the greatest benefit to the state.

Oklahoma House of Representatives seal