The New York Times published an article today, Bleak Stories Follow a Lawsuit on Oklahoma Foster Care, in which it was reported that Oklahoma boasts one of the worst records for children enduring abuse within foster and group homes. The Federal data also shows that Oklahoma children experience frequent moves, extended stays in shelters and lack getting much needed therapy. The state is also needing more social workers, foster homes, and various therapies to offer the children in its care.
A new lawsuit, filed in February by advocacy group, Children's Rights, as well as local lawyers, details not only the above stated issues within the Oklahoma foster care system, but also the psychological damage that the children suffer after placement in the system. The hope is that this lawsuit will force change, as this course of action has helped other states overhaul broken systems.
Oklahoma's Department of Human Services is fighting the suit. Their defense? A good record for monthly checks, which are performed by social workers, on the foster families. Allegedly, they are so diligent with the monthly checks, more issues are found. Therefore, their record appears to be worse than other states where they are not as diligent in making their monthly rounds. Foster parents and children in Oklahoma are not buying this story as they report that the workers are not showing up for the checks, but falsifying documents stating that the visits occurred.
For now, the hope is that the lawsuit will proceed and the court will force Oklahoma to step up and take care of the children in foster care.Are you an Oklahoma foster parent? Is it as bad as they say? What do you think needs to be done to improve the foster care system?
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