Oklahoma Department of Human Services committee to review recent child deaths

An Oklahoma Human Services Commission committee plans to begin its inquiry into child deaths by scrutinizing 18 cases in which children have died from child abuse or neglect since January 2010 despite DHS involvement.
BY RANDY ELLIS AND ROBBY TRAMMELL Published: November 9, 2011

Lane, one of the newest commissioners on DHS' governing board, said as an experienced former prosecutor he knows there are times it is impossible to predict someone is going to kill a child. Lane is a former Oklahoma County district attorney.

Deaths since 2010

Committee members hope that by studying the deaths they can determine whether changes can be made in policies and procedure to prevent future deaths. Lane said the committee chose to initially focus on deaths since January 2010 because that's when the child welfare agency fully implemented a new practice model for handling child welfare cases.

Lane said he is still recruiting members for his committee but hopes to complete the process within 30 days.

Dr. Robert Block, of Tulsa, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has agreed to serve in an advisory capacity, Lane said.

Individuals who have already agreed to serve on the committee, he said, include: Barbara Bonner, director of the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in Oklahoma City; Terri White, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; and Sandra Park, deputy superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools.

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