“I'm saying, there's a lot more that could have been done here,” said Lisa Smith, director of the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth.
DHS workers decided not to take Ahonesty and a baby brother away from their mother in part because the mother said the children's grandmother would become their guardian. The mother and grandmother promised DHS they would keep the children away from the mother's boyfriend. Instead, the mother and two children ended up living with him.
Steele, R-Shawnee, and other House members have scheduled a news conference for Wednesday to announce a strategy to improve DHS. “Ahonesty's tragic and untimely death is another indication of the need to reform the policy, infrastructure and delivery of services at DHS,” Steele said.
Two other legislators, Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher, and Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City, plan a separate news conference for Monday. They said they want DHS commissioners to come before the legislature to answer questions about DHS policies and procedures. “No more passing the buck,” they said in a news release.