Western Plains Youth and Family Services will be hosting the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth (OCCY) for their monthly meeting today.

“This is a first for Woodward,” said Kevin Evans, director of Western Plains, noting this is the first time OCCY has held a meeting in Woodward.

“We have had meetings around the state,” said Bart Bouse, chairman of OCCY. “But as far as I know, we’ve never had a meeting in Northwest Oklahoma.”

Bouse, who has been chairman since 2002 and has been on the commission since 1998, said he is excited about Western Plains hosting the meeting.

“It’s an opportunity for me to show off what I’ve been involved with to the other commissioners,” he said, noting that he has been involved with Western Plains since 1996.

It is also a great opportunity to show off Western Plains’ new facility, he said.

Evans explained that after the commissioners finish their meeting this morning, they will tour the new youth shelter and counseling center. Western Plains will then provide a special lunch for them, he said.

“It’s a big deal, I think,” Evans said, noting that the meeting will bring the heads of several important state agencies to Woodward at the same time.

Commissioners include the directors of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Office of Juvenile Affairs, Bouse said, explaining that one of the purposes of the commission is to “bring together all the players in the juvenile system to improve the system.”

Because their goal is to improve the system, he said it is important that the commissioners visit facilities like Western Plains and become acquainted with them so they know how the system is really working.

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