That’s a Wrap

After 6 years and 400 posts, the Tulsa Initiative blog is calling it a wrap. We here at CAP Tulsa first dipped our toe in the water of social media through this blog, with the goal of building a community of readers interested in the things we were interested in – early childhood education; anti-poverty policy; food insecurity; workforce development; innovation; and others. It was part of a larger idea that a “Tulsa Initiative” could be built that would support Tulsa’s vulnerable children, and their families, from early education through high school graduation and beyond.

While “the Tulsa Initiative” did not come to full fruition, CAP Tulsa helped launch a neighborhood and community-based comprehensive development project called Growing Together in two Tulsa neighborhoods.  The Innovation Lab at CAP Tulsa, which has staffed this blog, helped build CareerAdvance, an innovative two-generation strategy at CAP that helps parents build careers and provide stable economic footing to support their children’s development. And CAP Tulsa embraced social media and is now on Facebook and Twitter.

Meanwhile, lots of great organizations continued to produce and distribute lots of great work – much of which we have posted to this site. We feel confident we will not be leaving too big of a hole in the blogosphere.

We thank you for reading and supporting us. Please do continue to stay connected to the work of CAP Tulsa through our website www.captulsa.org or our Facebook page.



It has been just a little over two years since I took over the Tulsa Initiative Blog. One of my first assignments was writing a blog post introducing myself to you, the readers. Now, one of my last assignments is to write a post to say goodbye.

It is time to start the next chapter in my life, and so in a few days I will begin a one year LLM (legal masters) program in Energy and Natural Resources.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed a guest blog and helped us keep the topics fresh. I would also like to thank everyone for their thoughts, ideas, insights and encouragement. My time at CAP Tulsa was rewarding and I’ll carry this experience with me as I move forward.

Toxic stress” has come up before in previous posts. It can occur when children are exposed to severe, frequent or prolonged traumatic experiences. Researchers refer to these events as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Source: Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

Source: Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

When kids lack caring, protective relationships with caregivers, the stress response associated with adverse experiences can disrupt normal brain development. And the cumulative effect of toxic stress can take a toll on a person’s physical and mental health, not just in childhood but throughout life.

Toxic stress during childhood is linked it to unhealthy lifestyles later in life, such as using alcohol to cope with stress, tobacco use, and illicit drug use. A Pediatrics article also states that the “biological manifestations of toxic stress” can cause impairment of the immune system and increase risk factors for heart disease, asthma, and other health problems.

A new Child Trends report shows Oklahoma children to be especially at risk for exposure to Continue Reading »

aecf-kidscountdatabookcover-2014The Annie E. Casey Foundation has been tracking child well-being in their annual KIDS COUNT Data Book for the past 25 years. The data in the 2014 report continues to measure indicators in four domains: 1) Economic Well-being, 2) Education, 3) Health, and 4) Family and Community. The figures are based on data as recent as 2012.

This year, Oklahoma fell to 39th overall in Child Well-Being in the KIDS COUNT state profiles. Terry Smith, the president and CEO of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, was quoted in the Oklahoman as saying

“After a brief improvement in the rankings due to the recession’s impacts on the rest of the nation, Oklahoma has begun to fall again as the overall economy improves.”

Smith went on to say Continue Reading »

It’s time to once again cover Feeding America’s annual Map the Meal Gap report. Feeding American, of course, is a network of over 200 food banks. They help their partners distribute 3 billion pounds of food every year.

Their annual Map the Meal Gap report examines local food insecurity trends and this year’s report reflects data from 2012. This report helps local food programs measure food insecurity within their communities, providing information on the local level and including data on every county in the U.S.

map the meal gap 2Their estimates show the food insecurity rate in the U.S. is 15.9%, down from 16.4% in last year’s report. This means 48,966,000 Americans lack the resources to consistently afford enough nutritious food to live active, healthy lives.

The report also highlights children’s hunger by measuring the child food insecurity rate, which is currently at 21.6%. The 2012 child food insecurity rate is also lower than in 2013, which was 22.4%, but still includes 15,898,999 children living with food insecurity.

For Oklahoma, Map the Meal Gap estimates food insecurity rates have remained virtually the same since last year’s report, coming in at 17.2% of the state population. This means Continue Reading »

When researchers test a new medicine or even a new program design, they often devise a study comparing results between a treatment group and a control group. People in the control group receive no treatment, and forgo any benefits if it is proven to work and avoid any side effects if proven harmful.

A trial is going on regarding healthcare in this country, and right now Oklahoma has put itself in the control group. In this case, being in the control group may not be in our state’s best interest. However, it will provide useful comparisons between our state and states that chose to expand Medicaid.

medicaidIn 2012, in the same decision where the Supreme Court ruled the bulk of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was constitutional, the court also ruled that the federal government could not force the states to accept the Medicaid expansion. The Medicaid expansion was intended to provide healthcare coverage for Americans whose income fell below 133% of the poverty level.

While the court ruled the federal government could not force states to expand Medicaid eligibility, it did keep the option alive for states willing to accept federal money for the expansion. In essence, the final decision on expanding Medicaid fell to the individual states.

However, declining the expansion does not leave states in the same situation they were in before the ACA was passed.  In 2014, all states will begin to see a decline in the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments the federal government grants to states to fund care for indigent patients.

States used DSH payments to help hospitals deal with unpaid medical bills, and DSH payments are decreasing because Medicaid was supposed to fill the gap. So it is important to understand that declining additional Medicaid funds leaves many hospitals at a financial disadvantage. Continue Reading »

A previous blogger, Diama Norris, first wrote about the 20K House Project on our blog back in 2009. The idea behind the project is the creation of affordable housing which serves as an alternative to mobile homes and expands homeownership among low-income individuals. The idea is as appealing now as it was when Diama first discussed it over 5 years ago.house keys

Rural Studio is the program behind the 20K House project. They are an undergraduate program of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at Auburn University. Rural Studio is celebrating its 20th anniversary and has much to show for it. Over the past two decades they have provided practical experiences for students who design and build projects benefiting underserved populations in rural Alabama.

The 20K House Project itself began in 2005, and has produced 12 versions of the 20K house. Each version was given away to residents in need who reside in and around Hale County. Now efforts are underway to take what Rural Studies has learned through this hands-on research project and create a marketable product. This will Continue Reading »

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