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Rally organizers push for change in Oklahoma child welfare system

RANDY ELLIS Modified: December 1, 2010 at 4:13 pm •  Published: August 6, 2009
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A group pushing to overhaul Oklahoma’s child welfare system will host its second rally in less than two weeks today at the Oklahoma County Juvenile Justice Center.

The rally will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the center, 5905 N Classen Blvd.

The rally is sponsored by the Oklahoma Family Rights Coalition, which has circulated initiative petitions twice this year calling for a public vote on overhauling the child welfare system.

The group withdrew its first initiative petition in April after gathering only about 85,000 of the 117,013 necessary signatures within the 90-day period allowed.

A second petition drive failed when an air-conditioner leak collapsed the ceiling above a room where petitions bearing thousands of signatures were stored, said Clarence Cooper, president and chairman of the coalition.

The petitions were doused with water, ruining most of the signatures, Cooper said.

"That loss was just gut-wrenching,” he said.

Cooper said the coalition turned in a partial box of completed petitions July 29 but readily acknowledged there were too few names to get the issue on the ballot when the signatures are counted Aug.


"We want (the Department of Human Services) to focus on children who need protection and ... simultaneously focus on families who don’t need to be separated."
Clarence Cooper
president and chairman of the Oklahoma Family Rights Coalition

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