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Death of 5-year-old girl is all too familiar story in Oklahoma

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: June 21, 2011

The report said Serenity lived for a time with her maternal grandparents, who wanted to adopt her, but that she was moved to foster care after it was learned the grandmother was letting Serenity stay with her mother and her boyfriend, a convicted sex offender.

Now four DHS employees — two supervisors, two case workers — are on administrative leave pending an agency investigation. DHS could release a report on that investigation this week. Meantime, House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, who has backed legislation designed to help keep foster children safe, is questioning the agency's approach: “The outcome of Serenity's case is totally unacceptable.”

Steele's right, it is. But his is only the latest bit of railing against DHS. There have been many others, and plenty of efforts through the years to curb the large number of Oklahoma children abused and neglected. Yet it continues to happen.

If DHS mishandled this case, then those responsible should be held accountable. The shame is that Oklahoma has so many cases just like it every year — so many that the news stories about them have become almost formulaic.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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