OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Josh Cockroft on Friday announced he is donating his per diem and mileage reimbursement from the legislative special session to the 111 Project, a partner in the Oklahoma Fosters Initiative.

“The 111 Project helps connect children without families to parents who will love them and take care of their needs and with volunteers who will support those families,” said Cockroft, R-Wanette. “This is a mission worthy of my and others’ support.”

The 111 Project’s mission is to mobilize the church to see to it that no child is without a home that needs one. The program’s motto is “1 church, 1 family, for 1 child could change everything.” While the program seeks foster parents, volunteers also can sign up to support foster families by giving time or other resources, such as mentoring or making meals.

According to the Oklahoma Fosters Initiative, 720 children in the state are waiting to be placed with a “forever family;” 9,906 children are in the state’s custody through the Department of Human Services (DHS); 1,080 foster families were needed this year.

Cockroft said he felt compelled to donate his per diem and mileage reimbursement when the governor called the Legislature back into special session after the Smoking Cessation Act of 2017 was ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. The ruling left a $215 million hole in the state budget, primarily appropriated to three healthcare agencies.

“The people of District 27 elected me to balance a budget during regular session,’ Cockroft said. “I cannot, in good conscience, ask the people in my district to pay for special session as well.

“Because the overturning of the cigarette fee affected DHS and family services in our state, I want to do my part to give back.”

Cockroft said he has encouraged all his House and Senate colleagues to join him in donating their per diem and mileage to the 111 Project or another charity or organization of their choosing. Many other legislators already have indicated they will be donating their per diem and mileage to causes in their communities.

“I also challenges the people of Oklahoma to give out of their abundance for the most vulnerable among us,” Cockroft said.

State Rep. Josh Cockroft represents Oklahoma House District 27 covering parts of Cleveland and Pottawatomie Counties at: (405) 557-7349. You can also email me at: Josh.Cockroft@okhouse.gov.