A special DHS committee report on child deaths involving abuse and neglect is out.
Committee Chair Wes Lane said members looked at 135 child deaths bewteen 2010 and 2012. They then did more detailed studies on 36 cases where the families had some child welfare involvement during the previous year.
"Since the claim was made that dozens of children die every year in the care of DHS, if true, we needed to know if there were systemic issues at DHS that contributed to these deaths," Lane said.
Lane said the report finds only one of those 36 cases involved a child dying while in state custody.
The report finds, in part, many conditions leading to child deaths were the result of an unstable home environment, substance abuse in the home, and failure by the public to report suspected abuse and neglect.
Recommendations include improved training for those who might see signs of child abuse, such as teachers and day care workers.
Also, internal changes at DHS, such as development of a checklist to be covered during child welfare investigations.
The 38 page report is the result of 16 months of research by the committee.
(Oklahoma Special Review Committee Chair Wes Lane.)