Advocacy Group: Oklahoma's DHS Lets Children Fall Through The Cracks


Monday, March 21st 2011, 10:08 pm
By: News On 6


Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Two new reports say Oklahoma's safety net for children is riddled with holes. It's the latest shot across the bow from the organization suing the state's child welfare system in federal court.

These two new reports, totaling more than 170 pages, blast DHS from top to bottom.

3/17/2011 Report: Oklahoma's Welfare System Failed Several Children

These consultants claim there are no checks and balances, no systematic efforts to fix problem areas, and no accurate way to even identify those problem areas, because the agency's computer system is flawed.

So, if those accusations are true, what does that mean for the thousands of children in state care?

Children's Rights, the organization suing DHS, says needed oversight isn't there, and that's how children fall through the cracks.

They claim DHS's own workers found big problems with the computer system.  They claim one type of report was "massively wrong," yet DHS hasn't fixed the problem, even though it was discovered several months ago.

And they say these inaccurate reports are still being used to monitor DHS workers' caseloads and staffing.

DHS says the so-called experts are paid for their opinions and the outcomes are predetermined. They say none of this new data has been tested or questioned.

DHS continues to say they've made serious improvements to the system and you can't argue with the facts. They say there are fewer kids in state custody and more adoptions than ever.

"We take our role in the protection of children very seriously," Howard Hendrick, Director, OKDHS, said in a news release. "Our agency promotes the most qualified, experienced persons to lead child welfare operations and there is no disconnect between policy and practice."

Read the statement from DHS