Governor’s new plan to protect youngest Oklahomans

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Friday brought the announcement of an overhaul for the embattled Oklahoma Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division. State leaders presented a $153 million plan to better protect Oklahoma’s foster children.

The overhaul plan was court ordered as part of a settlement agreement in the D.G. vs. Yarbrough class action, civil rights lawsuit.

Gov. Mary Fallin said, “The Pinnacle plan offers a vision and a roadmap forward that will better serve our children and ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and effectively.”

One of the main priorities of the Pinnacle plan is to recruit hundreds more foster parents.

The governor will soon be seen in commercials asking for foster parents to step forward. Interim Director of DHS Preston Doerflinger said potential parents will have to trust the changes in the system are worth checking out.

The plan also calls for more employees, more accountability within the department, more transparency and a complete restructuring of how the department is run.

Doerflinger said, “There’s no question that there’s not a lot of extra money around but I believe that there are efficiencies to be realized in the agency as well that will help us to be able to help fund the initiative.”

Three people appointed by the court will be reviewing the rough draft plan.