The Oklahoma Early Childhood Program (OECP) was created in 2006 to improve the quality of early education statewide and expand high quality child care options for low-income children ages 0-4. Currently, OECP funds high quality classrooms at thirty facilities serving 2,830 children statewide. Many of these programs also have Early Head Start and Head Start classrooms.
OECP provides the fiscal structure to align state and private resources to promote high-quality standards tied to minimum teacher qualifications, ongoing professional development, and parent supports designed to foster low-income families’ independence and economic success. Public funding for the OECP flows through the Oklahoma State Department of Education as a match to private funds provided by philanthropists and corporations throughout the state. In addition, OECP receives funding through DHS’s Child Care Subsidy Program in the same fashion as the Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP). The OECP contract numbers begin with the prefix 35.
A unique feature of the Oklahoma Early Childhood Program (OECP) is the focus on Family Support—the provision of staff and critical wrap around services for parents and caregivers. In building family partnerships, OECP staff ensure that enrolled families have access to community resources that will meet their needs.
The providers work collaboratively with families to identify and assess services and resources that are responsive to each family’s needs and goals, including but not limited to:
- Emergency assistance in areas such as food, housing, clothing, and transportation
- Education and other appropriate interventions, including opportunities for parents to participate in counseling programs or to receive information about mental health issues that place families at risk, such as substance abuse, child abuse & neglect, and domestic violence
- Opportunities for continuing education and employment training and other employment services through formal and informal networks within the community