For Immediate Release

February 20, 2017
Media Contact: Joe Dorman; jdorman@oica.org or 405-892-9205

Foster Care Reform and Improvement Bill Advances

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) today thanked lawmakers for advancing a bill to help better serve children and parents within the state’s foster care system. Senate Bill 727, by Sen. AJ Griffin (R-Guthrie) 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.

The bill was heard today in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, where lawmakers voted unanimously (11-0) to advance the bill.

OICA CEO Joe Dorman said the legislation is part of a long-term strategy to improve foster care in Oklahoma.

“All children deserve loving, safe and stable homes,” said Dorman. “This bill helps us get closer to that goal by increasing accountability within the foster care system, encouraging collaboration between parents and DHS caseworkers, and supporting the adults who have made the decision to become foster parents and open their homes to children-in-need.

“In the last several years, the state has made great strides in improving foster services through the Pinnacle Plan. This bill helps build on that momentum and ensure we continue to move forward and seek additional improvements at DHS. My thanks go out to AJ Griffin for her work on this important legislation, and all the lawmakers who have supported it. My hope is for this bill to make it to the governor’s desk quickly so we can begin seeing additional positive changes at DHS.”

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