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Oklahoma DHS director cancels foster home recruitment contracts

DHS Director Ed Lake on Friday abruptly canceled 10 recently awarded contracts with private agencies retained to assist in recruiting and retaining foster families.
by Randy Ellis Modified: April 12, 2013 at 9:06 pm •  Published: April 13, 2013
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DHS Director Ed Lake on Friday abruptly canceled 10 recently awarded contracts with private agencies retained to assist in recruiting and retaining foster families.

Lake took the unusual step after state lawmakers forwarded complaints from other provider agencies that were dissatisfied with the competitive selection process.

“Please know that my decision has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the agencies awarded contracts,” Lake said in a memo that went out Friday to the affected private agencies. “However, I firmly believe the downside of going forward under these conditions outweigh the benefits for both your agency and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.”

Lake cited four major reasons for canceling the performance-based contracts:

The language of the request for proposals was too “prescriptive” and worked against “provider creativity, flexibility and capability.”

The service regions of the state were artificially defined and worked “against the reality of how resource homes could be recruited and supported.”

By limiting the number of contractors to 10 from specific regions, the competitive process eliminated a lot of high-quality agencies that could help the state, he said. Also, the private contractors weren't allowed enough say in the design and details of contracts.

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by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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