Oklahoma House Members Announce Plan To Reform DHS - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

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Oklahoma House Members Announce Plan To Reform DHS

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© Under HB 3135 the agency would be required to publicly disclose pertinent information about cases of child death or near death by abuse or neglect. © Under HB 3135 the agency would be required to publicly disclose pertinent information about cases of child death or near death by abuse or neglect.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The House of Representatives says they have a plan to fix the Department of Human Services. A group of House Members has been working on the reforms for months.

"It's been said that some of the worst outcomes educationally, emotionally, physically for any child in any kind of demographic situation is to be in foster care," said Rep. Jason Nelson (R) Oklahoma City, who presented the top to bottom reforms Monday.

Back in October Rep. Nelson was put in charge of a bi-partisan group to aggressively reform the agency.

Now, six months later, Rep. Jason Nelson and the group announced their recommendations.

HB 3134 calls for vertically integrating the child welfare division, where the people in charge of programs are also in charge of implementing them in the field. Right now that doesn't happen.

HJR 1092 would abolish the Commission for Human Services who Nelson says has a historical tendency to insulate the director from any real accountability.

The head of the DHS would be appointed by the governor.

Under HB 3135 the agency would be required to publicly disclose pertinent information about cases of child death or near death by abuse or neglect. Although the federal government recently warned the current bill may not meet federal guidelines.

And HB 3136 would establish a worker certification system where front line employees would be required to meet competency-based standards.

"You've never seen an agency like this poised for reform," said Nelson.

News 9 spoke with the policy director for OICA, a child advocacy group who has been working for changes within DHS. She says they support these reforms and are pleased they are moving forward.

The reforms would be passed through legislation. The public would have to vote on abolishing the Commission of Human Services.

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