Oklahoma DHS governing board refuses special meeting on Serenity Deal death
Serenity Deal, 5, died in Oklahoma City after being placed with father by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
The governing board of the state's child-welfare agency has refused repeated requests to hold special meetings on the high-profile deaths of children in its care.
Videoview all videos
Photoview all 19 photos
NewsOK Related Articles
Steven Dow, of Tulsa, called for the special meetings. He is one of nine commissioners who oversee the state Department of Human Services.
He told The Oklahoman, “My calls for greater accountability and interest by the commission in even asking questions are met with a deafening silence. … I basically have gotten no response from most of the commissioners.”
Dow asked for special meetings after the 2010 death of Aja Johnson, 7, and the June death of Serenity Deal, 5.
He brought up five other children's deaths in one of his requests for a meeting about Serenity.
“Not once has the Commission discussed any of these horrific situations nor attempted to understand how our agency failed these children. Not once,” he wrote in an email to other commissioners.
“For a system to allow so many tragic deaths in such a short period of time is unconscionable. For us to not invite someone who has investigated the cases nor even ask our staff to explain what, from their perspective, happened is irresponsible and an utter dereliction of our duty to oversee the Department,” he wrote.
Dow said only one other commissioner, Anne Roberts, of Norman, agreed to a special meeting on Serenity.
Against a special meeting over Serenity was Commissioner Aneta Wilkinson, of Tulsa.
Wilkinson wrote in an email to Dow: “I firmly believe that DHS is handling this very unfortunate matter in the correct way. This terrible incident is not a system failure but involves the actions of individual people.
See our commenting and posting policy.
News Photo Galleriesview all
- 21361Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 10815Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 8633Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
- 8589Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
- 8336Finding Addyson – One family's struggle in the Moore tornado
- 7789Blake Shelton's "Healing the Heartland" televised tornado benefit set for Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena
- 7697Story behind the photo: Family members describe desperate search for one another after EF5 twister