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Second Oklahoma City children's shelter licensed as existing DHS shelter nears capacity

DHS has obtained a temporary license to open a second children's shelter in Oklahoma City as its existing shelter continues to operate at near capacity.
by Randy Ellis Published: September 10, 2012

Powell said the average length of stay for babies 2 and under has been reduced to 1 ½ days.

“It's a constant stream of children coming into the system, which also means it is a constant effort on our part to find more foster homes,” Powell said. “This problem has not gone away. It's not going to go away. There are always going to be children who are abused or neglected that need our help. We, in turn, need the community's help to serve these children.”

“We are just at the beginning of this whole improvement process of recruiting families,” she said. “We're really going to have to recruit a lot of families to get a step ahead so we can have families who can take children before they have to go to the shelter.”

“We really need for people to step forward and help us get there,” she said.

Smith said she does not believe people should take a negative view DHS's decision to license a second facility.

“DHS is trying to be proactive,” Smith said. “We were just glad to see they were looking to provide a safety net before they needed it.”

Powell said DHS officials had not used the newly opened shelter as of Friday, but were considering using it over the weekend because they like to keep the number at the main shelter at or below 38 in case a large number of children come in at once.

DHS elected to place children at White Fields and at a group home at times this past summer when the Pauline E. Mayer shelter neared its capacity, Powell said.

White Fields, a home for abused and neglected boys, had an empty cottage on its campus that it has let DHS use in times of crisis.

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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At a glance

People willing to serve as emergency foster parents can get more information online at or calling (800) 376-9729.

“It's a constant stream of children coming into the system, which also means it is a constant effort on our part to find more foster homes.”

Sheree Powell

Spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services


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