Treatment of foster parents by DHS workers has been an issue for years, with many complaining to The Oklahoman that they have had difficulty reaching DHS workers when issues have arisen.
Yarbrough's call for a focus on customer service was echoed by interim agency director Preston Doerflinger.
“There is no room in this agency for mediocrity,” Doerflinger said. “The mission of this agency is too critical to have people who do not want to perform at the very highest level every day.”
Doerflinger said it will take a grassroots effort from agency employees to improve the system, and most employees seem to be rallying to that concept.
In other action, Yarbrough announced that officials have narrowed the list of applicants for the vacant DHS director's position from about 55 to three. The three top candidates have been interviewed by the selection committee, he said.
Yarbrough said he was “impressed with the competency of all three” but said officials are considering hiring an executive search firm to see whether an even better candidate might be available.
Officials have said they hope to name a new director by the end of June to replace Howard Hendrick, who announced his retirement in January.
Also Tuesday, Marq Youngblood announced his retirement as chief operating officer of the DHS Human Services Centers after 32 years with the agency. Youngblood was responsible for oversight of the Field Operations, Family Support Services and Children and Family Services divisions.
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