The Norman Transcript

Election Coverage

September 24, 2012

SQ 765 will reform child welfare



“One of the things we felt was extremely important is the bipartisan effort,” Treat said.

If this question is approved, the new law will allow for five appointments: one by the governor, one by the senate pro tem, one by the Senate minority leader and one each by the House speaker and the House minority leader.

“That’s really unheard of in these agencies,” Treat said. “We wanted this to be an issue that we all tackled together.”

“This is a situation in which we had a commission which was failing,” Burrage said. “We had good people serving on the commission, but they were uninformed.”

Burrage said respected commission member Steven Dow told Burrage he had to vote on issues where he (Dow) didn’t feel fully informed.

“I respect no one in the state of Oklahoma more than Steven Dow,” Burrage said. “DHS was sued because of how they handled their child welfare system. We all agreed on these DHS reforms.”

Because the governor would appoint the director under the new system, that makes Fallin accountable.

“I commend the governor for taking this position,” Burrage said. “I also want to commend the governor for appointing Preston Doerflinger as the interim commissioner. He is a Rogers County product and a personal friend.”

Because the current system was included in the state’s constitution, voters must approve its removal to allow the Oklahoma legislature to make the needed and dramatic reforms.

“I’m excited about the fact that there’s an opportunity for voters to have a say about what the state needs to do to make sure our children are taken care of,” Terrell said. “There’s no way a small commission can handle all of the oversight that needs to happen.”

Terrell said the proposed reoganization is the kind of bold reform she has said was needed.



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