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Governor Stitt Receives Final Recommendations From Oklahoma Child Welfare Task Force

Monday, October 02, 2023

Governor Kevin Stitt received the final recommendations from the Oklahoma Child Welfare Task Force.

"I'm proud of the members of the Child Welfare Task Force and I greatly appreciate their willingness to tackle challenging issues facing our communities," said Governor Stitt. "I applaud the Task Force for approaching their work with meticulous urgency, and I look forward to collaboratively implementing their recommendations alongside public and private partners.

“I especially want to thank Human Services secretary Dr. Deb Shropshire and former Human Services Secretary Justin Brown for their leadership of this task force as well as their vision for children in Oklahoma.”

The Child Welfare Task Force identified five primary goals for the state, each with actionable recommendations:

1. Expand resources and services to prevent families from entering into the child welfare system; and

2. Evaluate and implement strategies for supporting and enhancing family engagement; and

3. Improve the effectiveness of the juvenile court system by enhancing stakeholder engagement; and

4. Increase support and strengthen the role of foster parents to reduce closure rates and placement disruptions; and

5. Expand capacity of professionals that support families in the child welfare system.

"I am so proud to have chaired Oklahoma’s Child Welfare Task Force alongside committee members who faithfully devoted themselves to creating a set of recommendations that have the promise of continued transformation in the most difficult system in our nation," said Task Force chair, Justin Brown. "I am equally proud of the culture of humility with which the members approached this work and their dedication to improve the lives of children and families in Oklahoma for generations."

As a part of the six-month-long evaluation, the Child Welfare Task Force conducted engagement sessions and surveys to solicit stakeholder expertise. With 1,357 survey respondents and 125 engagement session participants, the Task Force proposed numerous evidence-based recommendations. Participants included foster care and adoption workers, Child Protective Services workers and supervisors, school-based service workers, Youth Transition Service professionals, and more.

"Agencies across Oklahoma are fully committed to creating a state with the robust services and supports families need to truly thrive," said Dr. Deborah Shropshire, Oklahoma Child Welfare Task Force vice-chair. "I am proud of the collaboration, coordination and capacity-building of this task force and our work to render fully executable recommendations to better serve the children and families interacting with our systems. Together, we can work to strengthen families and build the service array needed to create healthy, flourishing communities. Our children and families deserve no less."

In his first executive action of his second term in office, Governor Stitt issued Executive Order 2023-01 to identify and address areas of improvement within Oklahoma's child welfare system. In his executive order, the governor asked the task force to make recommendations that would increase permanency rates, reduce re-entries into the system, identify risk factors that lead to a child's removal from their biological home, and propose areas of support for biological parents.

The Child Welfare Task Force's complete findings can be found here.

Last Modified on Oct 06, 2023
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