Former DHS commissioner: Closing residential centers is a mistake

BY MICHAEL L. PECK Published: February 15, 2013
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Additionally, the 5,000 community-based clients and the other 6,000 disabled people who are requesting assistance from DHS need the medical, dental and therapeutic services that could be provided by a viable resource center.

Insinuating that more money would be available to serve others with disabilities is untrue. In fact, without our “safety net” resource residential centers, it would be more expensive and inefficient for our state dollars. Eight other states that have closed their residential care facilities have had difficulty financing the additional services needed to transition the more extreme cases into the community. Some of them have relied on neighboring states that offer residential services.

We can make Oklahoma a model state for how we care for these people. Please help me convince our representatives and governor that the decision to close our residential centers is not what we want these families to endure. More detailed information is available at www.safetynetok.wordpress.com.

Peck, of Enid, was a member of the Oklahoma Human Services Commission from 1999 to 2012. The state plans to close residential centers in Enid and Pauls Valley.

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