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DHS getting boost in funds for child care system

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Department of Human Services will receive more money next year to improve the foster care system.

The governor and top lawmakers unveiled a $7.1 billion budget deal Thursday, which included an additional $44 million for DHS.

Nearly $32 million of that money will fund the Pinnacle Plan, which is designed to improve the foster care system over the next five years.

“Probably the largest portion of that funding will go towards hiring more child welfare case workers and that is something that we are in the process of doing right now,” DHS spokesperson Sheree Powell said.

DHS will hire an additional 195 case workers over the next six months.

Powell said the plan also calls for increases in the reimbursement rates for foster parents.

“We developed the Pinnacle Plan last year which outlined a long-term road map to deliver and be able to constantly improve the care for Oklahoma children and DHS is successfully implementing that plan,” Governor Mary Fallin said.

According to DHS, there are more than 10,000 kids in the state foster care system.