Culture & the Family
Ed Lake | June 28, 2016
Oklahoma Pinnacle Plan
The Oklahoma Pinnacle Plan came about as a result of the settlement of a class action lawsuit in 2012. Funding for the plan over the past four years includes $108.8 million in earmarked appropriations and an additional $49.5 million DHS has redirected internally to Child Welfare Services. Achievements include:
- DHS has added more than 800 new case workers and supervisors to the child welfare workforce, which is being paid 23 percent more due to funding for raises. This has resulted in lower caseloads and less turnover of frontline workers.
- More than 6,500 children have been adopted from the foster care system and more than 10,000 have been successfully reunited with their families.
- DHS and its contract partners have recruited and approved more than 3,000 new foster families who have received an average 36 percent increase in foster care reimbursements.
- The use of emergency children’s shelters has been significantly reduced statewide by 71 percent. DHS has closed one of its state-run shelters and plans to close the second when the last remaining child has been placed.
- DHS has invested in more home-based services to keep many children safe with their families and avoid removals, and to help correct problems so families can be reunited with their children faster.
- DHS has increased public-private partnerships to fund and support services the agency could not offer on its own or with limited state appropriations.
Ed Lake is director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.