Increasing Number Of Children In Foster Care
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services says an increase in the number of children in state custody is hampering efforts to meet goals that are part of the settlement of a federal lawsuit over DHS' treatment of children.
The Oklahoman reports that DHS officials told a joint meeting of DHS citizens' advisory panels Wednesday that the number of children in state custody rose from about 8,000 in 2009 to 10,428.
Child welfare services director Deborah Smith said 796 new traditional foster homes were recruited, 15 more than the goal. But she said finding therapeutic foster homes for children with emotional problems has been more difficult and the agency did not meet its Dec. 31 goal of eliminating the use of state shelters for children younger than 2.