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Report: State Still Falls Short In Taking Care Of Foster Children

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

A new report says the state of Oklahoma still falls short when it comes to taking care of foster children.

It's the fifth report to come out of a court-ordered settlement called the Pinnacle Plan which was approved nearly four years ago.

Three child welfare experts monitor the state's efforts to improve the state's foster care programs.

They say the state has failed to make good faith efforts to lower the child abuse rate, failed to develop desperately needed therapeutic foster homes and failed to lower the number of older children in shelters.

The Department of Human Safety has a different take on the report.

Workers say it's the most positive report so far. DHS said the report shows it's made changes in 18 of the 30 areas of improvement.

DHS said it has added 326 new child welfare specialists. It said it's recruited and maintained 177 more foster homes compared to this time last year.

But, the attorneys who brought the original lawsuit said the state is not going to meet the terms of the agreement by the 2016 target date.

That means the monitors will have to spend at least another year forcing the state to make changes in how it cares for foster children.

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