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FOR RELEASE: July 27, 2000
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Regier to Participate in National Family and Community Renewal Conference

Jerry Regier, acting director of the Oklahoma State Department of Health and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Human Services, will join business leaders, state and national policymakers and community activists for the first national family and community renewal “teach-in” next week in Philadelphia, PA.

The historic, daylong event, Strategies for American Family and Community Renewal, is scheduled for Tuesday, August 1, at Sharon Baptist Church, a prominent African-American church in downtown Philadelphia.

Among the co-sponsors of the event are The Empowerment Network (TEN), a national resource and action hub for family and community renewal. Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating is national co-chairman of TEN. Other co-sponsors include the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society as well as the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

Conference participants, including state legislators and other elected officials, pro-family groups and grassroots civic entities, will learn about “best practices” action strategies that promote community renewal and strengthen families. These strategies – programs that support marriage and family, youth violence prevention, and faith-based initiatives that aid individuals and restore neighborhoods through wealth-creating activities – can be replicated in the participants' home states.

Secretary Regier will speak on Oklahoma's Marriage Initiative and its multi-sector approach to meet Gov. Keating's challenge to reduce Oklahoma's divorce rate by one- third by 2010. Oklahoma is the first state in the nation to earmark a substantial portion of its surplus Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) funds for reducing divorce and strengthening marriage. This initiative has been featured by TEN in its “Empowerment 2001 Blueprint: Strategies for American Family and Community Renewal” as its vanguard model for state initiatives aimed at measurably reducing divorce. Already, legislators from other states around the country have requested information on Oklahoma's Marriage Initiative.

For conference information, visit the TEN Web site at www.empowermentnetwork.com.

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