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In 1996, more than 5.2 million children lived with one biological parent and either a stepparent or adoptive parent, up from 4.5 million in 1991.

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Oklahoma CPS News Archive

Oklahoma News Coverage

by Tess Maune

OKLAHOMA CITY - An improvement plan to reform Oklahoma's foster care was approved Tuesday, by a group of child welfare experts.

The Pinnacle Plan is part of a settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit against the Department of Human Services. It was settled in January, and since then, the state has been working on a seven-point plan to protect our children.

newson6.com

July 26, 2012

by Tess Maune

OKLAHOMA CITY - An improvement plan to reform Oklahoma's foster care was approved Tuesday, by a group of child welfare experts.

The Pinnacle Plan is part of a settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit against the Department of Human Services. It was settled in January, and since then, the state has been working on a seven-point plan to protect our children.

newson6.com

July 26, 2012

by Ginnie Graham

OKLAHOMA CITY - Foster care parents and child welfare workers will be getting raises in accordance with an improvement plan for abused and neglected children.

Workers will get an average of a 5 percent increase, or about $200 a month. "It is about time we pay them what they should be paid," Doerflinger said. "This sends a message to our current workers that you are important, you are valued and we will do what we say we will do."

tulsaworld.com

July 25, 2012

by Gatehouse Media, Inc.

The mother of a 5-year-old Oklahoma girl who was killed by her father is seeking $3 million from the state Department of Human Services.

Samantha Deal is seeking $1 million for herself and $1 million each for her two remaining daughters. Deal is the mother of Serenity Deal, who died shortly after the state removed her from foster care and placed her with her father.

news-star.com

July 9, 2012

by Randy Ellis

A federal agency is considering revising its restrictive policies that have sought to limit how much information state child welfare agencies can release following the deaths and near deaths of children.

The federal Administration for Children & Families sparked national outrage from child advocacy organizations in May when it threatened the Oklahoma Department of Human Services with the potential loss of more than $50 million in federal funds if DHS continued to make public the histories of DHS involvement with children killed or nearly killed by abuse or neglect.

newsok.com

June 21, 2012

A woman from Tulsa, Oklahoma is suing the city's code enforcement teams after they illegally cut down her entire survival garden.

Denise Morrison, who started the garden after becoming unemployed, had over 100 medicinal and edible plants in her front and back yard. She told local Tulsa reporters that she started her garden, after becoming unemployed, as a way to feed herself and treat a variety of medical issues. Instead of relying on government handouts, this woman took matters into her own hands and decided to become self sufficient. She filled her yard with things like, fruit trees, berries, nut trees, and a wide variety of edible and medicinal herbs. She used these herbs to treat her diabetes, high-blood pressure and arthritis.

offgridsurvival.com

June 18, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The latest version of the state's child-welfare improvement plan includes more emphasis on supporting foster families and social workers and moves up the implementation date to within three years.

The Pinnacle Plan is the foundation of the January settlement from the federal class-action lawsuit against the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the nonprofit Children's Rights, which alleges abuses and flaws in the system. The improvement plan address the 15 areas of concern from the lawsuit, arranged among seven points.

tulsaworld.com

June 15, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Department of Human Services on Thursday released its revisions to a plan to improve child welfare services that is part of the settlement of a lawsuit that alleged mistreatment of children in state custody.

The revisions to the so-called Pinnacle Plan include placing all children younger than 2 in a family-like setting rather than a group shelter by Dec. 31 and establishing a training program for DHS staff by July 1, 2013, rather than Sept. 1. The plan is part of a January settlement agreement with the New York-based children's advocacy group Children's Rights, which sued over DHS' treatment of foster children.

therepublic.com

June 15, 2012

by Ginnie Graham

After having agreed to serve on a child-welfare committee, two former members of the oversight commission of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services say they have changed their minds.

Steven Dow and Anne Roberts said they will not be part of the committee, which was formed to shape the improvement plan required by the settlement of a federal class-action lawsuit that alleged abuses in the state's foster-care system.

tulsaworld.com

June 15, 2012

by Ginnie Graham

Child-welfare workers are fixing problems with long wait times for a reporting hotline and have handled a record number of cases in the last year, officials said during a DHS oversight commission meeting Tuesday.

Commissioners with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Oversight Commission also were told about three national child advocacy groups defending Oklahoma lawmakers in their efforts to open more child-welfare records. The statewide child abuse and neglect reporting hotline had wait times of up to an hour before a worker could take some calls, officials said.

tulsaworld.com

May 24, 2012

A new legislative proposal to overhaul the state Department of Human Services and abolish the Human Services Commission may create more problems than it hopes to solve.

A House working group headed by Rep. Jason Nelson has proposed an overhaul of DHS that, in part, would abolish the agency's governing board and replace it with four separate advisory panels, each charged with overseeing a different segment of the agency. Other bills would streamline administration of the DHS child welfare division and require additional training and higher salaries for child-welfare workers.

enidnews.com

May 22, 2012

BARTLESVILLE - A $25,000 bond was set Monday for a Dewey woman charged felony child neglect after police found her in a car with two feces-covered toddlers.

Stephanie Lynn Notah, 44, is charged with felony child neglect, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia and transporting an open container. Special Judge Kyra Williams ordered Notah to have no contact with the 3-year-olds, who were taken into custody by child welfare authorities.

tulsaworld.com

May 22, 2012

Serenity Deal, a five-year-old girl, was brutally beaten and died at the hands of her father while in the custody of DHS. Serenity is only one of the nearly 50 children who have died while in foster care over the last 10 years.

This child's death, while tragic, helped put a face on the broken child welfare system and created momentum for bold reform this legislative session. Among dozens of recommended reform measures making their way through the legislature this session is a plan to change the structure of the DHS Commission, the oversight body of the largest state agency in Oklahoma.

normantranscript.com

May 20, 2012

by Randy Ellis

Federal officials are threatening Oklahoma with a loss of millions of dollars if the state continues to make public the histories of children killed or nearly killed by child abuse or neglect.

Complying would mean Oklahomans would no longer have access to the types of reports that in the past have revealed massive failures in Oklahoma's child welfare system that contributed to deaths of children like Kelsey Smith-Briggs and Serenity Deal.

tulsaworld.com

May 16, 2012

by Randy Ellis

Federal officials are threatening Oklahoma with a loss of millions of dollars if the state continues to make public the histories of children killed or nearly killed by child abuse or neglect.

Complying would mean Oklahomans would no longer have access to the types of reports that in the past have revealed massive failures in Oklahoma's child welfare system that contributed to deaths of children like Kelsey Smith-Briggs and Serenity Deal. However, ignoring the demand would place Oklahoma's Department of Human Services at risk of losing more than $50 million in federal funds, officials say.

newsok.com

May 16, 2012

by Randy Ellis

OKEMAH - A jury returned a $4.55 million verdict Tuesday against an eastern Oklahoma mental health counseling service and one of its counselors who failed to report sexual abuse.

A female client admitted to counselor Krista Roseborough of Creoks Mental Health Services Inc. in October 2004 that she had sexually abused her then-3-year-old daughter, said Seminole attorney Jerry Colclazier. Testimony at the Okfuskee County trial revealed the counselor subsequently hid information about the sexual abuse confession from a judge and Department of Human Services' child welfare investigators, Colclazier said.

newsok.com

April 8, 2012

Michelle Fausett, of Oklahoma City, has been charged with three counts of financial exploitation of a minor.

The charges filed Monday by Oklahoma County prosecutors allege that Fausett used federal disability payments to the children in order to by video game systems, laptop computers and televisions, but never delivered the items to the foster homes where the children were living.

necn.com

March 10, 2012

by Zack Stoycoff

Families are deeply responsible for reporting domestic child abuse even if they risk a child being removed from a home, experts said.

"There's a belief that if we involve child welfare, they're going to take the children away," said Roy Van Tassell, a clinical supervisor for the organization, which specializes in counseling families to prevent child abuse and neglect. "Families are often surprised to find that they're just given treatment and training."

tulsaworld.com

March 5, 2012

by Randy Ellis

DHS officials have been violating state law and endangering the lives of dozens of abused and neglected children by placing them in Oklahoma City's overcrowded state shelter, documents reveal.

"The overcrowding of this facility creates a serious and immediate risk to the lives and life safety and welfare to all occupants and residents," a state fire marshal's agent wrote following a May 31 inspection of the overcapacity Pauline E. Mayer Children's Shelter in Oklahoma City.

newsok.com

February 12, 2012

Dr. Jason Schluter, a Tulsa, Oklahoma chiropractor, is offering a year's worth of free care to veterans who are serving or have served in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001.

Jason F. Schluter, DC, of Tulsa, Oklahoma has joined doctors of chiropractic from around the United States that have answered the call to participate in a new initiative aimed at supporting America's newest returning veterans with immediate access to chiropractic services, in addition to the limited programs officially available through the US Department of Defense.

prweb.com

January 28, 2012

by Ginnie Graham

A child advocacy group legally obligated to investigate child deaths was allegedly denied access to investigative files of a high-profile case by attorneys with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Email correspondence in DHS suggests tension among commissioners and extensive involvement by the agency's legal department in matters ranging from raising child-care fees to information released on a child's death. The Tulsa World requested on Sept. 20 all email correspondence between DHS Director Howard Hendrick and the commissioners on the oversight board starting in January 2011. Documents dating to Sept. 10 were received on Jan. 11.

tulsaworld.com

January 23, 2012

by Michael Mcnutt

The modified settlement of a federal class-action lawsuit that accused the state Department of Human Services of harming children in its foster homes and state shelters should be tossed out.

The suggested changes by the Contingency Review Board should not have been considered by DHS commissioners because the two legislative members on the panel violated the state constitution's separation of powers act, according to the lawsuit filed by Jerry Fent, an Oklahoma City attorney.

newsok.com

January 11, 2012

by Ginnie Graham

OKLAHOMA CITY - Despite approval of a settlement agreement by a review board, plaintiffs in a federal class-action lawsuit over the state's child-welfare system say they are preparing for trial.

The state's Contingency Review Board - composed of Gov. Mary Fallin, House Speaker Kris Steele and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman - voted unanimously to approve a proposed settlement of the lawsuit Thursday.

tulsaworld.com

December 30, 2011

by David Harper

A Tulsa federal judge has rejected another attempt to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks widespread reform of the Oklahoma child welfare system, finding that most of the measures requested by the plaintiffs do not interfere with state court proceedings.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell rejected on Friday the motion by Department of Human Services officials who argued that the relief sought by the plaintiffs is improper because every child involved in the class-action case is already part of ongoing juvenile proceedings in Oklahoma district courts.

tulsaworld.com

December 17, 2011

by Bill Sherman

Dozens of children in protective custody who would have been sitting alone in a state institution this Christmas instead will be surrounded by the fun, laughter and food of family celebrations.

Home for the Holidays, a new partnership between the Department of Human Services and churches and families, allows children at the Laura Dester Emergency Children's Shelter in Tulsa and an Oklahoma City shelter to spend Christmas with a local family.

tulsaworld.com

December 17, 2011

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