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Gov Fallin Signs DHS Bill Into Law (May 31, 2012)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that overhauls the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and streamlines the administration of the agency's child welfare division.

Fallin signed four measures Thursday during a ceremony attended by members of the House and Senate and others who helped develop the proposals.

DHS has been criticized over the high-profile deaths of children in its custody. A class-action lawsuit filed by a child advocacy group alleged children in DHS care suffered physical abuse and neglect. The case was settled earlier this year.

Among other things, the measures signed by Fallin change the organizational structure of the agency's child welfare division and give the governor the authority to appoint the DHS director, with Senate confirmation. Another would allow voters to decide whether to abolish the governing board.

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