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Oklahoma DHS Commission votes to settle lawsuit

Oklahoma DHS commissioners met through the evening Tuesday discussing a proposed settlement of a federal class-action lawsuit over care of children.
BY NOLAN CLAY AND RANDY ELLIS Published: December 21, 2011

Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of the group that sued DHS, said she was thrilled with the tentative settlement.

“I think it's a wonderful step forward for the children of Oklahoma,” she said. “I think this is the beginning of a very exciting process. It's definitely going to make children safer.”

Commissioners began the executive session at 5:50 p.m. Tuesday. Meeting with the commissioners was Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

After the meeting, DHS Director Howard Hendrick said, “While the terms of the settlement remain confidential, I can say that the terms are unique in this kind of litigation. Both sides were willing to entertain a new approach to resolving class action civil rights claims involving child welfare systems.”

“The strength of our defense and the excellent work our child welfare workers do every day changed the conversation about how these kinds of cases should be resolved. The future improvements, the details of which must yet be developed, are outlined in a framework that both sides hope will satisfy our shared desire to meet the needs of vulnerable children and families.”