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The State of The States: A Close Look at One State

by An Interview with Dale Wares by Roger Neugebauer
March/April 2012
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/the-state-of-the-states-a-close-look-at-one-state/5020432/

Recent years have been challenging ones for state governments. And state budgetary struggles have translated into significantly reduced support for early childhood services.

Rather than providing a summary overview of the status of early childhood funding in all 50 states, we have elected to take a more in-depth look at the
experiences of one state " Oklahoma. Of course, what happens in Oklahoma does not reflect the experiences in all 50 states " every state has a different story.

Most, but not all, states have had significant budgetary shortfalls in recent years. But in every state how these shortfalls have impacted early childhood services has varied. In most states early childhood services suffered funding reductions as part of across-the-board cutbacks. However, in a few states, early childhood services were protected from cutbacks or have even seen slight increases.

The Oklahoma story portrays the types of difficult decisions that most states have been dealing with. To capture this story we interviewed Dale Wares, who recently retired after decades of distinguished service for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Exchange: Given all the demands on state funding, are services for young children rising in priority, falling, or remaining flat?

Wares: Since 2008, Oklahoma has suffered ...

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