OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) is asking for
proposals from qualified vendors to help resolve past due Child Protective Services (CPS) case reports. As of September 9, 2013, approximately 3,100 CPS case reports were backlogged, meaning the case is pending after 60 days. In these cases, an investigation was conducted, the children interviewed and an initial safety decision was made by CPS staff; however, the case has not been documented in the child welfare system and closed according to DHS policy. DHS is working aggressively to address the backlog using a variety of approaches, but there will likely be around 2,000 past due cases still requiring closure.
“This backlog is the direct result of the sharp growth in the number of children in our custody combined with the lag time it takes to hire, train and deploy the many new caseworker positions we began filling at the start of the calendar year,” said DHS Director Ed Lake. “Our efforts to reduce what is essentially a paperwork backlog are taking significant time and resources away from child safety, foster care and permanency planning priorities.”
Approximately 65,000 allegations of possible abuse and neglect are received each year by the DHS Abuse and Neglect Hotline. Approximately half of the reports are accepted for investigation with abuse and neglect found in around 20 percent of the cases. A significant number of children are found to be in immediate danger and must be placed in the foster care system. Many other families are offered services to remain together and the cases closed without need for further intervention. Documentation of all investigations is critical in the event any future reports are made which could indicate a pattern of problems within the family.
DHS is looking to partner with successful vendors to close all backlog cases by January 31, 2014. DHS will provide training to vendors on Oklahoma State Statutes regarding child abuse investigations, CPS policy and procedures, best practices related to child abuse investigations and documentation in the child welfare system.
Interested vendors can view the request for proposals and qualifications posted on the Office of Management and Enterprise Services Central Purchasing Division website at https://www.ok.gov/dcs/solicit/app/viewAttachment.php?attachmentID=58857.
A bidders’ conference will be held at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 13 in the Sequoyah Auditorium, 2400 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City.