OK Marriage Initiative Among Programs Cut Due To DHS Budget Shortfall

Friday, August 5th 2016, 9:05 am
By: News 9

State officials are ending a long-standing and controversial program -- the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative.

It's part of the $100 million budget shortfall the Department of Human Services is facing. DHS is having to make $45 million in cuts and that includes this program that's been around for 17 years.

The Oklahoma Marriage Initiative first started in 1999 and according to the Journal Record, it was supposed to reduce the state's high divorce and poverty rate. Counseling and workshops were provided to married couples, but that goal was unrealistic.

In 2002, the goal of this program changed to promoting healthy families and marriages. The controversy around all of this -- divorce has increased and so has poverty in the state.

The Journal Record reports that in 2014, Oklahoma had the third highest divorce rate in the country.

With all the budget cuts needed, DHS says this program is no longer one that fits in with their core mission.