Patience important as DHS works to ease foster care backlog

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: April 29, 2012
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Doerflinger said employees are warm to the idea of improved customer service. But the culture of an agency so large, complex and literally spread all over the state won't come easily or quickly enough.

Oklahomans should not let that get in the way of reaching out to help. Kudos are due to Oklahomans who have answered the call to serve as foster parents and those interested in pursuing adoptions. More such families are desperately needed, but the road is rough. DHS must make certain that it's a facilitator, not a roadblock.

We're especially grateful to those attorneys who have volunteered through Oklahoma Lawyers for Children to help ease the backlog of home studies required of foster home applicants. The studies are a complicated process; shortcuts aren't an option.

Many of the issues plaguing DHS are systemic. Quick fixes aren't fixes at all; they're just a mask. Oklahoma children need a system that's tightly controlled but also flexible enough to realize that every child's situation is different. That's a tall order — one that will require more people than ever before to engage while exercising an abundance of patience as the agency and its dedicated employees work to do better by children and families.

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