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Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) has released its annual report for State Fiscal Year 2020 (SFY 2020). In congruence with the agency’s True North Strategy to become more innovative, the report is the agency’s first fully digital report.
The full report is located at ourOKDHS.org, along with more information about each of the agency’s True North strategies. OKDHS is a team of more than 6,200 employees making up eight major service divisions. Highlights from this year’s report include:
How Adult and Family Services helps Oklahomans:
• Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides federally-funded food benefits to eligible families and households. More than $800 million in SNAP benefits are accepted at more than 3,500 retail grocery outlets statewide.
• Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provides time-limited cash assistance for working families to help them with basic living expenses such as clothing, gasoline or rent.
• Child Care Subsidy is a federally-funded benefit for eligible working parents to help supplement the costs of quality, affordable child care.
• Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides federal funding to help low-income households with home heating and cooling utility payments.
• Adult and Family Services staff help determine eligibility for the federally-funded Sooner Care (Medicaid) program for the aged, blind and disabled population.
• State Supplemental Payment (SSP) is used in conjunction with federal social security payments to assist low-income individuals or their care providers.
How Aging Services (AS) and Adult Protective Services (APS) assists older Oklahomans and other vulnerable adults:
• The federally-funded Medicare Advantage waiver program is administered by Aging Services. Advantage provides a cost-effective way to help customers remain in their own homes and receive home-making services, home delivered meals, caretaker respite, adult day programs, and prescription drug assistance.
• APS investigates abuse, neglect or exploitation of vulnerable adults over age 18 in private residential settings and in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
• APS provides referrals to community resources which help vulnerable adults who are no longer able to meet their own needs.
• APS administers federally-funded HIV/AIDS case coordination services.
How Child Care Services (CCS) ensures safety in childcare programs:
• CCS licenses childcare programs statewide and ensures homes and centers are in compliance with safety requirements.
• CCS works in partnership with childcare providers, community organizations, tribes, state agencies and other stakeholders to develop childcare standards and help childcare programs achieve developmentally appropriate programs.
How Child Support Services (CSS) helps thousands of Oklahoma children:
• CSS enforces court-ordered child support from noncustodial parents and recovers taxpayer funds spent on public assistance services.
• CCS provides genetic testing to establish legal parentage in child support cases.
How Child Welfare Services (CWS) strengthens families and protects children:
• Family-Centered Services (FCS) focuses on preserving and strengthening families by implementing safety plans so children can remain with their biological parents.
• When a child must be removed from a home to ensure safety, CWS searches for relatives or foster parents who can support the child and family while efforts are made to safely reunify the family.
• When the child and family cannot be safely reunified, Child Welfare Services (CWS) focuses on finding an adoptive family or guardian to ensure permanent, supportive connections for the child that will last through adulthood.
• CWS is proud to collaborate with multiple community partners, tribal nations, other state agencies, and treatment providers to serve children and families and promote safety, permanency and well-being for Oklahoma children and families.
How Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) promotes independence:
• DDS helps empower and support Oklahomans with developmental disabilities to live independently and work in integrated employment within their communities.
• DDS helps improve the well-being of individuals by providing home and community-based services.
• DDS advocates for the elimination of the DDS Waiting List while referring families to other resources to meet their needs until waiver services are available.
How the Office of Client Advocacy (OCA) protects customer rights:
• OCA serves adults with intellectual disabilities living in their own homes, family homes or group homes who receive DDS services through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based waiver program.
• The Office of Client Advocacy (OCA) serves foster children through investigations of abuse, neglect and exploitation in out-of-home care (other than foster care) including children in group homes, shelters and residential treatment centers.
• OCA protects customer rights through advocacy, informal and formal problem resolution through the grievance and fair hearing process, and supports self-determination and autonomy of customers by helping them navigate OKDHS systems to help meet their needs.
• The Office of Client Advocacy investigates allegations of caretaker abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults.
How the Office of Inspector General (OIG) protects taxpayer dollars:
• OIG ensures accountability through compliance audits of OKDHS programs, helps protect taxpayer dollars from fraud, waste or abuse, and conducts fraud investigations of customers, vendors and Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) staff.
• Cases are adjudicated through administrative law hearings, waived administrative hearings or criminal courts.
• OIG conducts fingerprint background checks for licensed childcare providers, foster and adoptive families, trial reunifications, guardianships and all OKDHS employees.
Additionally, three Special Projects were highlighted in this year’s report: Community HOPE Centers, Service First and the Council of Voices.
State Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020) was the first full fiscal year of service for Justin Brown as Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives and Director of OKDHS.
Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) leadership submitted the report to Governor Stitt for his review in early November.