OKLAHOMA CITY - The State Senate has approved a measure to fund special child abuse investigation teams across the state. House Bill 2007 would help duplicate the success Tulsa County has had with its multidisciplinary teams for identifying and stopping physical and sexual abuse of children. That's according to Senator Mike Morgan. Senator Morgan, D-Stillwater and Representative Mike Thornbrugh, R-Tulsa are co-authors of HB 2007.
"Basically these teams bring together mental health professionals, law enforcement, medical professionals, child protective service workers and district attorneys so that they can work together from the start. It makes the process much easier for the victim, helping them get services more quickly. It also speeds up the process for investigating and prosecuting the abusers," explained Senator Morgan.
The legislation creates a permanent funding mechanism for the program through a $10 fee increase on 15 different types of civil court filings.
"In 1998, there were 16,710 confirmed cases of child abuse. Forty-five children were murdered by their parents or guardians. With a more effective child abuse prevention program, we could have saved some of those children. I believe these multidisciplinary teams will help us do that," said Senator Morgan.
The bill has already been approved by the House. It now goes to Governor Keating for his consideration.