Adoptions in Oklahoma increasing at fastest rate in nation

Oklahoma adopts children at a higher rate than any state in the country.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: November 20, 2011
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The number of Oklahoma children finding adoptive homes through the state Department of Human Services is growing at a rate well above the national average.

Adoptions have increased 64 percent in the past nine years, according to data about state-involved adoptions from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

Nationally, adoptions have increased only 3 percent.

The increase can be mainly attributed to the new focus at DHS on adopting children more quickly, agency spokeswoman Sheree Powell said.

The Swift Adoptions Services unit, which is part of the child welfare division, has 92 employees who focus solely on adoption, Powell said.

The unit was created by DHS Director Howard Hendrick soon after he took his post in 1998.

Before the adoption unit, child welfare workers focused on everything from abuse claims to foster care to adoption, Powell said.

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HOW TO HELP

To become a foster parent

For more information about adopting or becoming a foster parent, call (866) 612-2565 or go to www.okdhs.org/programsandservices/adopt.

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