DHS commissioners say special review committee will look into Oklahoma City girl's death

Legislators call for changes at DHS.
BY NOLAN CLAY Staff Writer nclay@opubco.com Modified: October 14, 2011 at 11:51 am •  Published: October 14, 2011
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DHS commissioners Thursday announced its new special review committee will look into “what went so tragically wrong” in the case of a young Oklahoma City girl who died from abuse.

“It will take a close look at this case to assess and implement any changes that might be required to better protect vulnerable children,” the commissioners said in a news release on the death of Ahonesty Hicks.

State legislators, meanwhile, called Thursday for reforms at the Department of Human Services. “These outcomes must end,” House Speaker Kris Steele said.

DHS commissioners formed the special review committee in September. They acted after being criticized for failing to publicly address high-profile instances of children dying while in DHS care.

In charge of the special review committee is a new commissioner, former Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane.

Ahonesty died May 3 from a brain injury. She was 17 months old. Her mother's boyfriend is charged with first-degree murder and child neglect.

The director of a state oversight agency suggested Wednesday DHS workers could have acted more aggressively to protect the girl — first in mid-March when her mother tested positive for the illegal drug PCP and again two weeks later when the mother and boyfriend fought.

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