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When child welfare system fails, that's going to make headlines

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: December 28, 2011

Sunday's stories mentioned one child-welfare specialist who said that because of her workload, she hadn't even begun 15 investigations into reports that children were in danger. The volume of cases is clearly one of the most important issues facing the agency.

But workload wouldn't be a factor in teasing residents of a home for mentally disabled, or instigating fights between teenage girls at a group home, or looking up pornography on a state computer, or making fake IDs in order to get food stamps. The DHS workers who did these things were among the 200-plus DHS employees who have been disciplined in the past four years, out of a full-time workforce of about 7,000, including nearly 1,300 in child welfare.

Zearley wishes we'd write more about people like Olivia Kyaterekera, who was honored by DHS recently for saving a child who had been kept locked in a closet. “This is just an example of the work OKDHS workers do every day to save endangered children,” he said.

God bless those who do! But when children die because the adults charged with caring for them failed in their duties, or because the system didn't work as it should have, that news is going to make headlines.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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