Friday, April 12, 2013

STATEMENT on DHS Director Ed Lake Decision to Cancel Contracts for Recruitment, Retention of Bridge Resource Families

OKLAHOMA CITY – The bipartisan group of four members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives who constituted the working group on the state Department of Human Services reforms created in 2011, issued the following statement today in response to the cancelation by Oklahoma Department of Human Services Director Ed Lake of recently awarded contracts for the recruitment and retention of foster care Bridge Resource Families:

“We are in complete agreement with the decision today by Oklahoma DHS Director Ed Lake to cancel recently awarded contracts for the recruitment and retention of Bridge Resource Families.

“The reasons cited by Director Lake as the basis for his decision to cancel the contracts are the same problems we identified and shared with the agency. 

“Our biggest concerns are the arbitrary geographic boundaries which ignore the reality of what it takes to recruit a foster family and that only one vendor was selected for each geographic area. These concerns were shared by everyone we heard from concerning the results of this contracting process. 

“We realize that this move by the department will unfortunately further delay the essential step of partnering with private organizations to recruit, train and support foster families. However, we believe moving forward with the current process would yield significantly worse results over the long run compared to a delay in the short run necessary to address these significant issues. 

“This public-private partnership is the centerpiece of recent DHS reforms including the Pinnacle Plan.

“We have no concerns with any of the entities that were awarded contracts and the canceling of these contracts are not a reflection on those private agencies. We understand that every vendor who submitted a bid is a licensed child placing agency each with impressive credentials.

“We believe the action taken today by Director Lake is a bold and necessary step for the success of this public-private partnership which is vital to meeting the goals of the Pinnacle Plan. 

“We support this action and commend the employees of the Department for their extraordinary commitment to recent reforms.”

Members of the House working group on DHS:

House Majority Floor Leader Pam Peterson
Representative Jason Nelson
Representative Pat Ownbey
Representative Wade Rousselot

Read the letter sent to contractors by OKDHS Director Ed Lake

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