Oklahoma House Passes DHS Audit Bill

Tuesday, March 10th 2009, 5:01 pm
By: News On 6

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma House has voted overwhelmingly to implement recommendations in a critical performance audit of Oklahoma's child welfare system.

House members voted 87-8 Tuesday and sent the bill to the Senate.

The bill would phase out emergency public shelters in favor of private facilities for children in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and establish a centralized statewide hot line for reports of abuse and neglect.

It also seeks expanded training for DHS workers to better assess risks to a child and offer in-home services to prevent children from being removed from the home needlessly.

The measure's author, Rep. Ron Peters of Tulsa, says the audit revealed that 20% of children removed from their home are returned within one week. Peters says that shows a need for more in-home services.