Oklahoma DHS oversight board should get detailed reports of child deaths, members say

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: October 21, 2011

DHS commissioners who oversee the state's largest agency should be given detailed reports by an oversight board that reviews the deaths of children, three commissioners said Thursday.

Detailed, confidential reports by the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth are given to Department of Human Services agency officials, but the nine commissioners receive general reports, DHS Commissioner Steven Dow said.

Dow, a member of a special review committee that was formed last month to look into recent deaths of children who died while in DHS custody, said committee members met Thursday with Lisa Smith, director of the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth.

The confidential reports contain specific recommendations about either policies that could be improved or policies that were not adequately followed or case workers that were not being trained adequately on existing policies, Dow said.

It would be helpful for the nine DHS commissioners to get those reports and review the findings, he said.

“As we formulate in the future some recommendations for things that are likely to be things that the committee recommends changing, that's probably on the list of things we're going to be giving active consideration to,” Dow said.

Committee meets

Recently appointed Commissioner Wes Lane, who serves as chairman of the committee, said DHS commissioners need to review those reports.

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