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Director's Letter

I’ll never forget the people and moments that originally drew me into this work.

Many years ago, in a medical clinic not so far from where I sit right now, I served as a pediatrician treating kids who were in foster care. While I was meant to heal their bodies and help those caring for them navigate difficult medical and life situations, their stories burrowed deeply into my soul. Each person’s dedication, their selflessness and the many ways they created hope for the families and kids they served led to a deep knowing that serving the team at Oklahoma Human Services was exactly how I wanted to spend my life.

While our paths to the agency may differ, I’d like to think each of the more than 6,100 Oklahoma Human Services employees with us today found the realization of their life’s passion through their work here – to offer help and hope for Oklahoma.

State Fiscal Year 2023 has given us incredible opportunities to deepen service to our communities.

From an historic investment by Governor Stitt and the Oklahoma Legislature to the tireless work of the Developmental Disabilities Services team, we are creating a no wait state for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

The efforts of the Child Care Services team have increased the availability of support and resources to help stabilize Oklahoma’s critical child care industry after the crippling effects of the pandemic.

Adult and Family Services and their partner agencies collaborated to help our customers weather the rollback of COVID flexibilities that had increased the amount of food they were able to purchase for their families’ tables.

More than a decade ago, teams gathered to imagine a child welfare system that would better serve and improve long-term outcomes for kids and families in Oklahoma. Now, that longstanding work through the Pinnacle Plan has been recognized by out-of-state experts who praised Oklahoma as a “model child welfare system.” The work isn’t and never will be done as we continue to adapt our system to meet the changing needs of those we serve; but this recognition acknowledges the incredible progress that has been made in record time.

There are countless other stories I could share from the more than 60 program areas across this agency, and countless more yet to be written. But what I know for sure – as sure as I knew it all those years ago in that medical clinic up the road – is that our employees will be here tomorrow and every day that follows, with outstretched hands and open hearts ready to offer help and hope to the Oklahomans who need us. We hope you will join us in this work of a lifetime. We are all better for it.

Dr. Deb Shropshire, MD, MHA
Secretary of Human Services and Director of Oklahoma Human Services

Last Modified on Oct 25, 2023
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