What You Can Do
| Facts |
| When An
Allegation Is Made |
In the News
See Other News Provided by
In The News
Trial Date Trial date set in Oklahoma foster-care lawsuit
By DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Published: 7/7/2010 10:56 PM
Last Modified: 7/7/2010 10:57 PM
A trial date that is well more than a year away was scheduled
Wednesday in a class-action lawsuit that seeks changes in the
state’s foster-care system.
U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell set the trial for Oct. 17,
2011, but said the date “may be a bit ambitious” in light of the
scope of the case. He told attorneys that “it will require all of
your efforts” to attain the goal.
Marcia Robinson Lowry, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, had
asked that the nonjury trial be scheduled for next summer. However,
Frizzell said a setting some 15 months in the future is more
Even though the lawsuit was filed in February 2008, it essentially
became a new case earlier this year after the 10th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals upheld Frizzell’s 2009 decision to grant the
plaintiffs’ request for class-action status, the judge said.
On behalf of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, attorney
Donald Bingham apologized for the slower-than-anticipated pace of
providing pretrial “discovery” materials to the plaintiffs. His
apology reiterated that made last Thursday by co-counsel David Page
at a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Frank McCarthy.
Read more from this Tulsa World article at
Lawsuit could hurt state's foster
POINT OF VIEW Keeping families together is
Published: December 6, 2009
All issues of fraud regarding fed funding has been removed from this
suit even though that was one of major issues that started it. There
are also frauds and conflict of interest occurring regarding the
lack of legal representation of children being concealed. And the
number of children in foster care is being misrepresented. It should
be called a "Class Action Law fraud".
vulnerable children of
Oklahoma, trapped between a state agency that routinely lets
them be abused in its care and some lawyers who mean well, but don‚€™t
have a clue how to stop it.
The horror show that is
Oklahoma foster care is aptly symbolized by the foster parent who
justified abusing foster children by declaring: "If you don‚€™t beat
them down, they will run all over you.‚€Ě Less well known: The
Oklahoma Department of Human Services declared the complaint
against this foster parent "unconfirmed.‚€Ě
The group that calls itself
Children‚€™s Rights (CR) deserves credit for bringing this case and
many others to light through its lawsuit against DHS. It has helped
keep these horrors in the news. That, in itself, may force some
change for the better. But the lawsuit itself is likely to
accomplish nothing and, if CR‚€™s recent track record is any
indication, it may even do harm.
That‚€™s because the lawsuit
ignores the issue that drives everything else, something made clear
in a comprehensive performance audit of DHS from Hornby
Zeller Associates, commissioned by the
Oklahoma House of Representatives. Repeatedly, that report warns
that "Oklahoma removes too many children from home.‚€Ě
My organization‚€™s data
confirm that Oklahoma tears apart families at one of the highest
rates in the nation, more than 50 percent above the national
average, and double or triple the rate in states widely regarded as,
relatively speaking, models for keeping children safe.
This hurts children in every
possible way. Even when foster homes are not abusive ‚€” the
majority are not ‚€” the inherent trauma of needless removal can
destroy a child‚€™s psyche for life.
One recent study of foster
care "alumni‚€Ě found they had twice the rate of post-traumatic
stress disorder of Gulf War veterans and only 20 percent could be
said to be "doing well.‚€Ě A second study, of 15,000 typical cases,
found that even maltreated children left in their own homes with
little or no help fared better, on average, than comparably
maltreated children placed in foster care.
Wrongful removal also
overloads the system, stealing workers‚€™ time from finding children
in real danger who really should be taken from their homes.
The Hornby Zeller report
insightfully dissects the reasons for Oklahoma‚€™s obscene rate of
child removal and offers some smart, specific solutions.
But Children‚€™s Rights is
silent on this. And the group‚€™s recent track record is alarming:
Its settlement in
Michigan led that state to cut funds for prevention and family
preservation in order to hire more workers to take away more
children. So unless CR changes its approach, its lawsuit is likely
to leave Oklahoma with the same lousy system only bigger.
If CR can‚€™t get past its
bureaucratic take-the-child-and-run mind-set and propose a
settlement that emphasizes safe, proven programs to keep families
together, then it should drop its suit and go away ‚€” before it
makes things even worse.
Wexler is executive director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform,
My organization‚€™s data confirm that Oklahoma tears apart families
at one of the highest rates in the nation, more than 50 percent
above the national average.
Oklahoma...Reps Want Your Stories
Oklahoma House of
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Richard Morrissette
WHO: State Rep. Richard Morrissette ( D-Oklahoma City )
WHAT: Public hearing on the Department of Human Services
WHERE: Room 432A of the
Oklahoma Capitol, 2300
North Lincoln Blvd.
WHEN: From 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, April 23, 2008
THE STORY AT A GLANCE: State Rep. Richard Morrissette ( D-Oklahoma
City ) will conduct the second of a series of public hearings at the
Capitol on the Department of Human Services. The April 23 meeting
will include testimony from individuals who have been affected by
DHS' actions or failure to act.
Members of the public are both invited and urged to attend,
especially those who wish to discuss their interaction with DHS.
DHS has been mired in controversy due to the apparently preventable
deaths of children in the agency's custody. DHS' record has led to
the filing of a class action law suit by an out-of-state child
welfare advocacy group.
Morrissette said the hearing will focus on identifying solutions to
the problems discussed by current and former clients of DHS.
Morrissette introduced House Bill 2890 this session, which would
have divided DHS into three separate entities. The measure did not
receive a hearing.
Earlier this year, New York-based child advocacy organization
Children's Rights sued the Department of Human Services on behalf of
nine children who were allegedly physically and psychologically
's foster care system. The lawsuit alleges that abused children are
often re-traumatized while in state custody because of numerous
flaws in DHS
oversight and management of the foster care system.
Note: Speaker of
the House contact information to express your opinion and or grant a
Formal House Hearing. .......
Honorable Chris Benge, 2300 N. Linclon Blvd. Room 401, Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma. 73105-4885. 405-521-2711 ask for the Speakers's
office or email,
Back to Top
National Advocates File Federal Class Action Lawsuit Against
Oklahoma State Officials to Reform Child
Complaint details ongoing failure to protect children in state
custody from severe abuse and neglect
Outlining a decade-long slide into disrepair and across-the-board
failure to protect children in state custody from often extreme
abuse and neglect, the national child advocacy group Children’s
Rights has joined four Oklahoma law firms and the international firm
Kaye Scholer in filing a federal class action today seeking
top-to-bottom reform of Oklahoma’s child welfare system on behalf of
the more than 10,000 children placed in its care.
known as D.G. v. Henry, charges Oklahoma’s Department of Human
Services (DHS) with violating the constitutional rights of children
by routinely placing them in unsafe, unsupervised, and unstable
situations in which many suffer further abuse—and some die—due to
the department’s longstanding failure to correct widespread problems
that prevent it from providing adequate care and protection. (Read
Link to Class Action Suit
Back to Top
Greetings from the Oklahoma Family Rights Coalition
State Question (Initiative Ballot)
Number 745 is an initiative petition that was created and filed by
the President & Chairman of the Oklahoma Family Rights Coalition
(Clarence W. Cooper, II) in January of 2009. Among many other
much-needed, and ground-shaking, measures in this Initiative
Petition, SQ745 seeks to re-empower and re-engage the communities of
the State of Oklahoma through the provision of public servant
accountability and "Honest Service". Protecting innocent parents and
their children from falling victim to unnecessary separation and
restoring justice to our broken system; whilst pressing our public
service offices to more properly protect the lives and interests of
authentically abused children.
Since January 15th, 2009, the committees and members of the
newly-formed Oklahoma Family Rights Coalition have gained astounding
recognition and support for this cause, from the residents of
Oklahoma and across the United States. Steadfastly pursuing our
mission to re-establish the voices of the people as the voice of
governance for our communities, elected officials, and public
servants. We know that positive change is not easy; but it is
The Oklahoma Family Rights Coalition is not a "Parents' Rights
Group"; as all parents, in this state and nation have
unalienable rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of The United
States. What we are, without question, is an organization of
communities, seeking to re-establish and continue to foster the true
ideals of community unity; sanctity of family; unalienable civil,
constitutional, and human liberties. We seek
to provide true community and family services through communication,
education, coordination, and facilitation of a wide variety of
resources for the people of Oklahoma; whilst endeavoring to protect
our most precious liberties which the people are afforded under The
Constitution of The United States.
From working with our elected officials to bring lasting, positive,
and truly effective change to the children and families of Oklahoma,
to driving the people of our great state and nation to reclaim their
sovereign place as communities who share a common good and interest.
The members of the Oklahoma Family Rights Coalition are working hard
to build stronger families, stronger communities, and
a stronger America. Leading by example, and demonstrating, to
our offices of government, that the people of this great state and
nation do not require provision of welfare; the people only
require the promotion of it.
Please feel free to take a look at our website
review our petition and the goals of the OKFRC. If our cause is one
that is congruent with yours, please feel free to post or link our
site on yours.
For the Children,
Chair, Legislative Liaison Committee
Oklahoma Family Rights Coalition
Phone: 580 320 0706
Back to Top
Go to Site: