DHS Commissioners Agree to Terms of Settlement in Class-Action Lawsuit and ‘Are Coming to Grips with Problems in the System,’ Says Children’s Rights

(Tulsa, OK) — The Oklahoma Commission for Human Services voted today in favor of settling the federal class-action lawsuit filed by Children’s Rights and Oklahoma attorneys in 2008. In response, Executive Director Marcia Robinson Lowry issued the following statement:

“This is great news for the more than 8,000 abused and neglected children who are in foster care in Oklahoma. The vote shows that DHS commissioners are coming to grips with problems in the system and are taking first steps toward the wide-scale reform that Oklahoma’s children so desperately need. We are grateful for the leadership that the governor, attorney general and the new members of the commission have demonstrated to move this agency in the right direction. We are hopeful that the state Contingency Review Board and the federal judge will also approve this landmark settlement.”

Children’s Rights and Oklahoma law firm Frederic Dorwart Lawyers filed the lawsuit in federal court in February 2008.
On December 1, 2011, the judge ruled that the class action suit could move forward on a single, substantial claim. That ruling allowed the case to move forward on its claim that the Oklahoma child welfare system subjects all children in DHS custody to harm or an imminent risk of harm in violation of their constitutional rights.
For and more information about Children’s Rights’ efforts to reform Oklahoma’s child welfare, please visit www.childrensrights.org/oklahoma.