NORMAN — The pioneers who put forth a constitution for Oklahomans were not the trusting kind. They wanted to be able to keep a close watch on utilities, banks and big business. Those populists wanted to make sure the state had a role in the well being of children and set up a Department of Child Welfare, too.
State Question 765, one of six state questions that come before voters Nov. 6, removes some of the child welfare language from the constitution and replaces it with laws made by the legislature. Those laws came after the tragic deaths of children in state custody.
It seems like a good time to reform and place more transparency in the state’s Department of Human Services which oversees the child welfare system.
The state question has bipartisan support and sets up a commision that is appointed by members of both political parties and four separate advisory boards.
It also makes the appointment of a director. Voters must approve the changes set forth by the legislature because it changes the constitution. The advisory boards oversee developmental disability issues, child welfare issues, aging issues and human resources oversight.