Desiree Doherty, former Executive Director of The Parent Child Center of Tulsa, is a champion of children's health. She is a visionary leader who brought the national system changing Safe Babies Court Team to Oklahoma. Because of her steadfast determination to change the way abused and neglected babies are treated, a Safe Babies Court Team has been implemented in Tulsa County Juvenile Court.
Desiree's mission is to make a significant and lasting contribution to the field of child abuse and neglect prevention through her efforts to engage systems change on behalf of infants, toddlers, and their families.
As Tulsa's foster care system has operated, babies and toddlers experience abrupt removal from their homes, multiple placement changes between foster care families, infrequent visitation with their parents, and an average delay in Tulsa County of 24 months in achieving a safe, stable permanent home. These concerning practices cause serious disruptions for children during the formative stages of their cognitive, behavioral, and emotional development. From 2012-2014, Ms. Doherty worked to build an infant mental health informed, multidisciplinary community in Tulsa. In 2015, under her direction and guidance, the first Safe Babies Court Team (SBCT), a specialty court for children age 0-3 and their parents, began in Tulsa. This system changing SBCT helps families reach safety and permanency as quickly as possible, so that babies can attain normal developmental progress. Families served by the Safe Babies Court Team have long standing generational cycles of abuse, neglect, and other family trauma. These families face an overwhelming number of risk factors in comparison to the general population.
The Tulsa community most admires Desiree Doherty for her ability to identify a problem which impacts babies and children, her ability to diligently search for a solution to the problem through consultation with experts, and her ability to then create a plan to solve the problem. Because of Desiree's tenacity, Tulsa is working to achieve system improvement for foster children in Tulsa County. Such change is difficult and takes time but is resulting in substantial immediate and long range savings in terms of the increased safety and well-being of the child and family; the decreased financial costs of child welfare and community social services; and the decreased burden of cases moving through the court system.
A $50,000 donation to The Parent Child Center of Tulsa would be used to fund Therapeutic Services. The goal of these services is to prevent future incidences of child abuse/neglect in the current generation and stop the cycle of abuse and/or neglect across future generations.