Study Shows Factors Related To Foster Care Population Increase

Tuesday, April 1st 2014, 8:52 pm
By: News 9

There has been a significant increase in the foster care population, and the Department of Human Services commissioned a study to try to figure out why.

DHS was alarmed after a period of steady decline in the foster care population exploded from 7,400 in 2010 to about 11,300 now.

So DHS requested a study from a national child welfare group, Casey Family Programs.

The resulting report explained that "...the causes of the growth of the foster care population are complex and stretch beyond the boundaries of DHS."

4/1/2014 Related Story: Father Criticizes OKDHS For Dismissing Child Abuse Claims

However, the report does point to factors that are within DHS's control including doing a better job of involving families in deciding where to place the child, spending more time assessing families and more kinship placements.

DHS Director Ed Lake said the report is helpful.

"It does bring out some of the obvious," said Lake. "We don't have enough staff in some places. The turnover's too high. It's not like we didn't know that going in, but it's very helpful in drilling down the reasons why we have all these kids coming in."

The factors the study identified have the potential to affect both the rate at which kids enter and leave the foster care system.

Oklahoma Department of Human Services Review of Child Removal Decision-Making