Oklahoma DHS Board Meets After Naming Two New Commissioners

Tuesday, September 27th 2011, 11:25 am
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Department of Human Services Commission is meeting for the first time Tuesday morning since naming two new commissioners to the board.

Former Oklahoma County D.A. Wes Lane and Energy executive Brad Yarbrough were named as commissioners earlier this month.

Yarbrough has been called to lead the Evaluation and Compensation Review Committee. And Lane has been called to head up a special review committee to look into deaths of children and adults in the system.

Tuesday morning, DHS Director Howard Hendrick briefed the commission on the current status of the SNAP program and the budget. The embattled agency has taken a lot of heat for its handling of the Serenity Deal case.

Serenity Deal is a 5-year-old little girl who was in state custody when she was found dead in her biological father's apartment. Her father, Sean Brooks, is charged with her murder. Case workers approved him to have unsupervised visits with the little girl.

8/10/2011 Related Story: Oklahoma DHS Releases Report On Toddler Allegedly Killed By Father

The agency recently fired a supervisor and case worker from the DHS Pottawatomie office who were one of the many who handled the case. They were two of four employees placed on administrative leave while the agency investigated the handling of the case. Another employee resigned and another committed suicide.

DHS had an independent agency review its policies and procedures to see what, if anything needed to be changed. They had the independent group Casey family programs do that review. They examine child welfare programs across the country. And they came up with a 14-page report on what's right and wrong with Oklahoma's child welfare policies and procedures.

Read the review of Safety Assessment Guidance and Practice in the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

9/20/2011 Related Story: DHS Terminates Another Worker On Serenity Deal Case