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Steele Unveils New DHS Plan (May 14, 2012)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - State lawmakers are proposing a major overhaul of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services that includes abolishing the agency's current governing board and replacing it with four separate advisory panels, each charged with overseeing a different agency division.

House Speaker Kris Steele unveiled the proposals on Monday with members of a House working group that has been studying the agency since the state settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit over how Oklahoma cares for vulnerable children.

Among the changes is a resolution seeking a statewide vote on whether to abolish the current Commission for Human Services, a nine-member, constitutionally created board that has overseen the agency for more than 70 years.

Lawmakers also want to streamline administration in the agency's child-welfare division and require additional training for child-welfare workers.

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