Work to improve Oklahoma DHS continues apace at the Capitol
THE work of trying to improve the Department of Human Services continues apace at the Legislature. At the same time, news stories offer a reminder of just how messed up some of the people are who DHS workers deal with on a daily basis.
The House of Representatives this week approved five bills crafted following meetings held last year by five House members. They were appointed by House Speaker Kris Steele after DHS came under fire for not publicly addressing high-profile instances of children dying while in the agency's care.
The bills approved this week seek to address concerns about DHS including those raised in a federal class-action lawsuit filed against DHS in 2008 by a New York-based nonprofit. The state agreed in December to settle the lawsuit, and work continues on a DHS improvement plan that will be submitted to a federal judge.
Specifics of the legislation are being hashed out in conjunction with the formulation of the improvement plan. The speaker's office says it expects substantive, specific policy to be added to the bills in the near future.
For now, the bills paint with fairly broad strokes. But they target areas of DHS revealed as problematic during the four months the House working group spent talking with agency workers at all levels, and as such should effect change for the better.
For example, one bill would modify the organizational structure of DHS so administrators responsible for developing policies are also accountable to ensure procedures are followed correctly. Another directs DHS to develop a certification process for child welfare workers. One would allow the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth to use administrative law judges to preside over DHS cases related to child welfare and foster care.
Voices Photo Galleriesview all
- 11731OKC Thunder: Thunder trio praise fans before potential departures
- 9188Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
- 6809Student shot dead during botched home invasion
- 5811Oklahoma State football: Todd Monken thinks Wes Lunt should've stayed in Stillwater
- 5608Oklahoma medical examiner reports cause of deaths in Grand Lake boat crash
- 4406Soaring gasoline prices hurt Oklahoma City area retailers
- 4394Oklahoma football: Sooners get pair of commitments