WASHINGTON, D.C.—On June 4, the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) honored Howard Hendrick, recently retired director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS), with its 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of human services.
“For more than a quarter of a century Howard Hendrick has served the people of Oklahoma directly while serving the whole nation as well through his work on the improvement of human services,” said APHSA Executive Director Tracy L. Wareing, who presented the award at the organization’s National Policy Forum in Washington. “We thank him for all his contributions and we value his stewardship and his legacy.”
When Hendrick retired in April, ending nearly 14 years at the helm of the OKDHS, his tenure in the same state was longer than any human services director presently serving in that capacity in the country. Hendrick’s accomplishments at OKDHS during his leadership include leading the nation in the number of adoptions of children in state custody per capita, OKDHS being recognized for having the most outstanding Child Support Enforcement program in the country, and the agency achieving the highest ranked child care licensing program for standards and monitoring in the nation.
Hendrick became the OKDHS director in 1998. In the ensuing years, he led a staff of nearly 8,000 employees, managed budgets totaling more than $2 billion and administered more than 40 state and federal human service programs throughout Oklahoma’s 77 counties.
Hendrick also served as Cabinet Secretary for Human Services for former Democratic Governor Brad Henry and served as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Human Services for former Republican Governor Frank Keating. Prior to joining OKDHS, Hendrick served 12 years as a member of the Oklahoma State Senate. For many years, he served as the Senate representative to the Oklahoma State Pension Commission and as the legislative representative to SoonerStart, the Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Childhood Intervention.
In 2004, he was selected as one of four Americans to receive the National Public Service Award for leadership in public administration, presented jointly by the National Academy of Public Administration and the American Society for Public Administration. In 2003, the Oklahoma Institute of Child Advocacy named him to the Child Advocates Hall of Fame.
In addition to his work in Oklahoma, Hendrick has been involved throughout his career at the national level, serving as APHSA president in 2009 and 2010 and as an APHSA board member from June 2004 until his retirement. He has served on several other national committees for legislative and human service organizations, sharing state-level solutions to the provision of health care and to local poverty. In addition, he served on the boards of the National Children’s Alliance and the Nazarene Theological Seminary and on the Executive Committee for the National Council of State Human Services. Prior to serving in the Oklahoma Senate, Hendrick practiced business, real estate, and tax law. Hendrick is a Certified Public Accountant and received his Master’s in Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma.