State Senator Frank Simpson has been recognized by the Department of Defense for the second consecutive year for his work on public policy changes that positively impact the quality of life of service members and their families residing in Oklahoma.
Ronald T. Keohane, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, directed that the award be delivered to Simpson.
“It is with great pleasure that the Department of Defense presents this recognition of appreciation. We appreciate Senator Simpson’s work on Senate Bill 1370,” said Marcus Beauregard, Director of the Defense State Liaison Office. “We also offer the appreciation of the service members and families residing in Oklahoma.”
SB 1370 requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to determine the military status of parents whose children are subject to abuse or neglect. If the Department determines that a parent or guardian is currently serving on active duty in the United States military, DHS will notify a U.S. Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program (FAP).
Notifying the Family Advocacy Program will allow them to work with DHS to provide services and resources to meet the needs of the family in crisis.
“It is always an honor to work on legislation that benefits the active duty military families assigned to our state,” said Simpson, R-Springer. “Unfortunately, the military is not immune to spousal or child abuse. This bill will allow Family Advocacy Centers to assist DHS when a military family finds itself in crisis.”
When an allegation of abuse or neglect is reported, FAP professionals meet individually with suspected victims, offenders, and other family members to gather information about the allegation and the family's history. This information, along with other evidence, is used to develop recommendations for follow-up action. An important part of the program is collaboration among FAP staff, military units, law enforcement, medical and legal personnel, Family Support Centers, chaplains, and civilian agencies. This coordinated community effort is essential to prevent and respond to abusive behavior in military families.
SB 1370 become law Nov. 1, 2016.