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Okla. DHS Director to Retire Feb. 29 (Jan 24, 2012)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The longtime director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services says he plans to step down at the end of the month.

Howard Hendrick announced his retirement Tuesday morning during a Human Services Commission meeting. Hendrick, who is a former state senator, has served as head of the agency since 1998.

The agency has come under fire in recent years following the high-profile deaths of children in its care. The department recently settled a federal class-action lawsuit that was filed on behalf of children in the state's foster care system.

Hendrick became emotional during his presentation to the commission. He thanked commissioners he has worked with over the last 13 years and says the agency is positioned to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable Oklahoma families.

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