Then the dead child gets her name put on a piece of meaningless legislation. It is all too common for the children of Oklahoma.
A few years ago, my wife and I attended a DHS-sponsored forum on how to become foster parents. One of the first slides explained the main problem with DHS: “The central mission of DHS is to reunify families.” That statement shook me to my core. I left appalled.
That sounds nice and fuzzy, but if the family is fractured to where a child is abused or neglected, I say, we need to step in.
Let’s put the child’s interests first.
I do not have a magic wand on how to fix it, but I think I have some ideas on how to start. If I were king, I would start anew, but politics is the art of the possible.
First, change the mission of DHS in regard to children. The goal should be to protect and rescue those children that have been abused or neglected. Period. The basic function of our government is to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When we can’t protect innocent lives, we need radical, fundamental reform.
Let’s take the goal of unification off the table and put the child’s interests first, not the fractured family that put the child into protective services in the first place.
Next, we should transfer DHS’s other core functions like food stamps and senior care. This would remove the agency’s administrative burden.
Let’s create an agency that works with the faith-based and nonprofit organizations across the state, because more than likely what needs to be fixed is someone’s soul, as well as their body. The goal should be to rescue the child, and put them on the path to self-reliance and self-esteem to break the cycle of violence. Give them the tools to survive; don’t send them back to the place where their innocence was lost.
As a Republican, I am proud that we have control of the governor’s man sion and state Legislature, but actions speak louder than words.
Gov. Mary Fallin has said, “It’s unacceptable that any child in our state should lose their life because of abuse or neglect.”
Gov. Fallin, as a parent, please do something to stop this tragedy of bureaucracy. It is now in your hands. It is time to do something: Do it for the children, do it to be more efficient, do it to lower government waste and bureaucracy — just do something to make sure we don’t have this horrendous plague on our state. At some point, the blame falls on those voting for people doing nothing.
Loveless, a former state Senate candidate, is owner of Phoenix Consulting and the business manager for Loveless Orthopedic Footwear.