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Watch for news soon about the OU Football Coaches Luncheon fundraiser hosted by CAB.

Featured Article

The Citizen's Advisory Board

Mission: To Help Children in Cleveland County Welfare System Feel Safe and to Thrive

Helping children in the Cleveland County Welfare system feel safe and to thrive during a difficult time in their lives is the goal of an advisory board that has been serving some of our most vulnerable population since 1989.

When it was formed, CAB’s mission was to fulfill Christmas wishes of children in foster care in Cleveland County through a Secret Santa Program, noted Sue Durrett, CAB executive director. In their first year, they served 69 children. Last year, that number had grown to almost 700.

CAB has since expanded its reach with two new programs.

Through its Basic Needs Program, launched in 1992,CAB focuses on fulfilling requests that will help children with safety and stability in placement and connections with their family and community, as well as providing them with opportunities to discover their talents and interests through such enrichment opportunities as sports and other extracurricular activities and experiences.

“The goal is to provide as much normalcy as possible during a chaotic time in the lives of these children,” Durrett said.

Examples of needs met through the Basic Needs Program include beds or cribs so children can be placed with relatives or siblings can stay together; food for families as they await reimbursement from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services; celebration funds and gifts for graduation; prom dresses; gas cards; and assistance with driver's education.

“These are just a few examples, as our program focuses on the unique needs of the child,” Durrett said, noting that they coordinate their efforts with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Cleveland County Child Welfare department to identify children and families in need of assistance.

“In addition, we have supported activities for youth preparing to transition out of foster care in learning necessary skills to live independently.”

The number of children served through this program grows every year, Durrett said, noting that in 2019, CAB added a Luggage with Love Program, which provides emergency clothing for children at the time of removal from their biological home. 

Children receive a personalized duffle bag filled with two sets of clothes, pajamas, socks, underwear, shoes, blanket, a hygiene kit and a toy, and book or other personal item. In addition, the children receive a coat and gloves in the winter and a swimsuit and flip flops in the summer.

“This helps children at a traumatic time have something that belongs to them and assists foster parents by allowing them to focus on helping the child settle in their home,” Durrett explained.

Durrett said there are several ways readers can help.

“We always welcome groups that would like to do a drive for clothing, hygiene products, and/or crib and twin sheets for our Luggage with Love Program,” she said. “Also, we will be having a fundraiser in March, Pins for a Purpose, to help restock our inventory. It is a fun bowling tournament with lots of laughs, trophies and auction items.”

Another way to help is through the OU Football Coaches Luncheon, where guests can hear about the upcoming football season, enjoy scrumptious food and participate in a live auction. And in November, CAB will again be asking for community shoppers to help fill the wish lists of children in the program.

To participate in the Pins for a Purpose, Coaches Luncheon or Secret Santa, visit

“Children in the Child Welfare system didn't ask to be there,” Durrett said. “They need the support of all who can provide it to help them through a traumatic time in their lives and help them continue to believe and dream of a positive future. Ensuring they are safe, feel stability in where they live, maintain important connections with family, and have opportunities to be involved in extracurricular activities promotes their growth and helps in building a brighter future. One kind action can make a positive impact on a child and their future.”

  • The Citizens Advisory Board hosts a Secret Santa program to fulfill Christmas wishes of children in foster care in Cleveland County.
  • Watch for news soon about the OU Football Coaches Luncheon fundraiser hosted by CAB.