Gov. Mary Fallin appointed the 10 members Thursday of a blue-ribbon panel dedicated to looking into how Oklahoma can better treat the developmentally disabled.
Almost 60,000 Oklahomans have an intellectual disability, Fallin said. The state has a waiting list of more than 7,000 people requesting services from the state's developmental disabilities service division of the Department of Human Services.
The new panel will develop a comprehensive plan to support those with intellectual disabilities and their families, starting with recommendations to address the state's growing waiting list for services, the governor said. It will also research and analyze best practices for the comprehensive delivery of quality services.
“Our goal as a state is to be a resource that allows men, women and children with intellectual disabilities the ability to realize their full potential, to live their own lives, and to do so as independently as possible,” Fallin said. “This new panel is composed of people with personal and professional experiences that can help us to pursue this goal and improve services.”
The panel has one year to prepare and deliver its report.
A bill filed this year that would have stopped a plan by DHS to close Northern Oklahoma Resource Center in Enid and Southern Resource Center in Pauls Valley, which treat the developmentally disabled, is considered dormant.
It failed to get a hearing in the House of Representatives by last week's deadline.
DHS commissioners in November voted to set an April 30, 2014, deadline to close the Pauls Valley center and an Aug. 31, 2015, deadline to close the Enid institution.