OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Some Oklahoma families who have been waiting as long as 13 years for developmental disability services are finally getting a big step forward.

Tuesday morning – the first group connected with DHS and the Department of Developmental Disability Services to learn more about the services they’ll soon be receiving.

The goal of these events is to provide a starting point and hope for these families who have waited for so long.

“We are excited to get this process started and see how these services and supports can help our family,” said Heather Pike, one of thousands of Oklahoma family members who have been facing a long wait for services like job training, home renovations, meal prep and personal care for a loved one.

Pike’s son, who has a developmental disability, has been on DDS’s waiting list for 12 years.

“Primarily for our family, it’s going to be assistance with some transportation challenges that we have with our son because he is employed,” said Pike. 

Earlier this year, the state legislature appropriated $32.5 million to put an end to the 13 year long wait list.

This is the first of a series of informational meetings across the state for families like the Pikes who will be coming off the waiting list in the next few months.

“So every quarter from now until the end of the waiting list, we’re going to be bringing families and hopefully in an area close to where they live and giving them all sorts of information about eligibility and services, introducing them to providers that are local to them, that may meet their needs that they may want to work with,” said Interim DHS Director Samantha Galloway.

Galloway says some families have been waiting for help for so long – the don’t even know exactly for what they’re waiting for.

“They see the services as an obstacle,” said Galloway. “So the whole point of these regional family meetings is to give them information so that they can start thinking about what services will give them a better quality of life, allow them to be more involved in their community and to live at home successfully.”

Eligible families will be invited to regional meetings based on their application date and will receive $100 for attending.

However, DHS is having a hard time reaching some of the families that have been on the list for so long.

Sessions will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

  • Dec. 6 in Oklahoma City
  • Dec. 7 in Enid
  • Dec. 12 in Broken Arrow
  • Dec. 13 in McAlester
  • Dec. 14 in Oklahoma City

Registration is required. Visit DDS-Meetings to register.

Families can call 844-944-9301 for more information.

The DHS needs accurate contact information for all DDS Wait List families to communicate when individuals will be eligible for services: UPDATE CONTACT INFORMATION HERE.