The Norman Transcript

Local news

April 5, 2013

Committee studying Oklahoma child abuse and neglect deaths releases report

NORMAN — The Special Review Committee studying child abuse and neglect deaths of Oklahoma children released its report today which includes both praise and criticism regarding the performance of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and many other entities responsible for the protection of children, and also disputes previous claims made by legislators against OKDHS.

In a 38-page report containing 50 findings and 37 recommendations which took 16 months to develop, the committee found there were many individuals, agencies and situations which were both “part of the problems and part of the solutions.”

“While our task was to review the work of DHS in the role of child abuse and neglect deaths, our committee soon discovered that while DHS had some responsibility, the conditions leading to the children’s deaths were the results of multiple omissions and commissions by any number of many groups, agencies, individuals, conditions, and factors,” said Wes Lane, chair of the 21-member, blue ribbon committee.

The Special Review Committee, originally a subcommittee of the now-dissolved Human Services Commission, was created in late 2011 by then Commissioner and former Oklahoma County District Attorney Lane. Its purpose was to review OKDHS’s role in child abuse and neglect deaths where the agency had some previous child welfare connection with the family.

The committee spent more than a year conducting a broad review of 135 child deaths which occurred between 2010 and 2012. The committee then conducted an in-depth review of 36 of those cases where the child died from either abuse or neglect and the family had some level of child welfare involvement in the 12 months preceding their deaths. Only one of the child death cases reviewed was of a child actually in state custody at the time.

“We observed instances where other agencies were involved in the complexities of cases, times when the public did not report abuse, and other situations where law enforcement or the judicial system, or others in the community bore some of the responsibility for a child’s death,” Lane said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • N7 Sooners come together to serve Native American youth

    Whitney Wofford has faced some tough competition as a part of the Oklahoma tennis team. However, on Wednesday, Wofford may have taken on her biggest and most rewarding competition yet at the Sooners For N7 event at the Oklahoma football ...

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Telling stories of a distant land

    Bakhtawar Aamire of Pakistan has been telling the same sad legend to Oklahomans for the past month. The story goes like this: Long ago, a young woman in love lived in the area that is now the city of Gujrat in the Punjab Province of ...

    April 25, 2014

  • NPS announces severe weather procedures

    Norman Public Schools is clarifying new severe weather/tornado procedures with letters to parents and a website that details the district’s severe weather plan....

    April 25, 2014

  • Sam Noble honored with national medal

    The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma will be awarded the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, OU announced Thursday....

    April 25, 2014

  • Workshop to empower young women

    BeautyIS, a free event targeted for girls ages 11 to 14 — with the purpose of helping them uncover the beauty within themselves — will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the LoveWorks Center, 127 Main St....

    April 25, 2014

  • Power outages reported

    Two electrical outages impacted hundreds of OG&E customers Wednesday evening. The first was caused by the failure of an underground cable and lasted one hour and 28 minutes, said James Chappel, OG&E community relations manager....

    April 25, 2014

  • Program offers immersion

    “It was the best year of my life” and “Yes, I would do it again” are frequent statements from young adults who have participated in the Rotary Youth Exchange. Everyone comes home changed from meeting the challenges and the successes of ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Holocaust survivor tells her story

    Eva Unterman saw black boots, guns and dogs. She did not understand the yelling or the violence. A young girl of 7, she only saw monsters in SS officers. Unterman did not understand until she was older that those SS officers were actually ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Crime briefs

    OHP dash cam records could go public The state Senate today passed a law that would require the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to abide by the state’s open records law....

    April 25, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Wednesday: · 12:46 a.m. larceny report, 2200 block of Houston Avenue · 1:12 a.m. larceny in progress, 200 block of Chalmette Drive · 6:46 a.m. vandalism, 1200 block of 24th ...

    April 25, 2014