Terri White, Commissioner, The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

State mental health commissioner Terri White has apologized to a judge who threatened to hold her in contempt-of-court because a mentally ill defendant did not get treatment for six months.

The Oklahoman newspaper reports that White promised during a meeting Friday that the judge would be notified if competency treatment cannot be provided for a defendant within a reasonable time.

District Judge Ray C. Elliot dismissed a contempt-of-court proceeding against White after the meeting.


Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will get some special help when she lights the state Christmas tree next month.

A couple from Noble with five adopted sibling children will help Fallin light the tree on Dec. 2 on the south steps of the State Capitol building.

Bryan and Donna Komers became foster parents through the Department of Human Services in 2013. The adoption of the five siblings was finalized in June. And Fallin says the Komers are a great example of what the holiday season is all about.

Ex-DHS Staff Worry About Former Patients But DHS Says Most Doing Well

Nov 2, 2014
Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services

Mable Stone spent a decade providing direct care at Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid, taking care of people like Gary Wilkinson.

Wilkinson died a little more than a week after he was moved out of NORCE into a community home and cared for by a private company.

When reached Friday, Stone had just learned of Wilkinson's death through a newspaper report. She said her coworkers at NORCE kept him alive for years, said Stone, who left NORCE as part of staff reductions earlier this year.

State Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid
Oklahoma State Senate

The deaths of 17 developmentally disabled people transferring or already transferred out of two large state-run institutions are raising questions about whether the closing of the centers put residents’ health at risk.

The deaths occurred after the state decided in November 2012 to shutter the facilities in Enid and Pauls Valley over the objections of some of the residents’ guardians and parents. Almost all of the nearly 230 adult residents were to move to small, privately owned “community homes,” where services are offered by various providers.

Oklahoma DHS Director Ed Lake
Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services

The director of Oklahoma's Department of Human Services is asking lawmakers to appropriate almost $33 million in state tax dollars to operate the agency through the end of June.

DHS director Ed Lake will discuss the supplemental funding request on Monday at a meeting of the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Human Services.

In a letter to state officials, Lake says the agency has encountered several funding problems since the 2013 legislative session, when lawmakers approved the agency's budget for the fiscal that ends June 30.

Department of Human Services

Oklahoma's Department of Human Services says it's firing two employees over their mishandling of a case involving a disabled 15-year-old boy who died of pneumonia last year after suffering alleged neglect and abuse at his father's home.

Quinten Wood died Jan. 4, 2013.

The state agency also said Monday that an internal investigation into Woods' case has prompted an overhaul of how it improves child protection — particularly when DHS becomes involved in cases with children who have mental and developmental disabilities.

Department of Human Services

A woman who says her special needs brother died from abuse is calling for an investigation into Oklahoma's child welfare services.

Valerie Wood-Harber presented an electronic petition with 460,000 signatures to Gov. Mary Fallin's office Tuesday. Wood-Harber is calling for an investigation into the agency after she made 22 unanswered calls in a span of weeks to report alleged abuse of her brother. Fifteen-year-old Quinten Wood later died of pneumonia.

Oklahoma Department of Human Services

Divorce and the effect it has on state government spending in Oklahoma, including welfare programs, is not something that can be improved with new policies or programs. That's according to Marriage and Religion Research Institute Director Patrick Fagan and Jim Struby, director of Adult and Family Services at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Both spoke during a Human Services hearing on Thursday at the State Capitol.

Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services

Oklahoma Department of Human Services officials say they're trying to determine why the number of children in state custody has increased sharply during the past 14 months.

DHS records show the number of children under the agency's care rose from 9,132 in July 2012 to 10,487 on Sept. 1 — an increase of 14 percent.

The waiting list for Oklahomans seeking state-paid care for developmental disabilities has jumped to more than 7,000, and some families have been on that list for nearly a decade.