Before the reforms, the number of children in Oklahoma City’s shelter was often between 65 and 70 and 75 to 80 in Tulsa. Throughout September, the number of children in Tulsa and Oklahoma City’s shelters combined was lower than during any previous month this year, according to DHS figures.
"It shows us that we were traumatizing a lot of kids that we didn’t need to,” Peters said.
An independent audit of DHS that cost the state $420,000 showed Oklahoma took nearly twice as many children into DHS custody compared to the national average.
Based on the audit, HB 1734 called for using public shelters less, putting the oversight of the shelters under the Commission of Children and Youth and starting a statewide child abuse hot line, among other things. The law took effect July 1.