For Immediate Release

April 18, 2017
Media Contact: Joe Dorman; jdorman@oica.org or 405-892-9205

Foster Care Improvement and Reform Package Passes Without Opposition in Oklahoma House of Representatives

 

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation to improve and reform the state’s foster care services passed 86-0 today in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman called it a major victory for the state’s vulnerable children, foster parents and social workers. Senate Bill 727 would:

  • Ensure a more collaborative process between parents and DHS and more actively engage parents around decisions involving child placement.
  • Strengthen long-term accountability at DHS by requiring yearly public reports be submitted regarding the foster care system, child welfare staff workloads and other key metrics.
  • Increase support and resources for foster parents and strengthen the Foster Parents Bill of Rights.
  • Reduce liability for foster parents to allow children in DHS custody to participate in appropriate activities, such as permitting foster children to participate in football or basketball.
  • Lower the age from 16 to 14 for youth in DHS custody to receive annual credit reports

SB 727 passed unanimously in the Oklahoma Senate last month. The House voted today on a slightly amended version of the bill, meaning it will go back to the Senate for a final vote before being sent to the governor for her signature.

Dorman said the legislation will help every child “find a safe, stable and loving home.”

“This bill provides a permanent framework for improvement within the foster care system,” said Dorman. “Parents, guardians and social workers often have to make really difficult decisions, and this legislation helps to ensure there is a collaborative process focused on children and their best interests. It also provides foster parents with more support and resources while strengthening accountability and transparency within the Department of Human Services.”

Dorman thanked and praised the authors of the bill, Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore) and Sen. AJ Griffin (R-Guthrie).

“Their leadership is a big part of the reason SB 727 is advancing so quickly and with so little opposition,” said Dorman. “I appreciate their passion for promoting child welfare and improving how the state cares for our youngest and most vulnerable residents.”

Please wait...

GET OUR NEWSLETTER

Want to stay up-to-date on issues and legislation affecting OK kids? Enter your email below.