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Panel Approves New DHS Plan (Jul 25, 2012)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A court-appointed panel of child welfare experts has approved the Oklahoma Department of Human Services' plans for changing the state's foster care program.

The so-called Pinnacle Plan that was approved Wednesday is the result of the January settlement of a lawsuit by New York based Children's Rights over the treatment of children in state custody.

The plan includes placing all children younger than 2 in a family-like setting rather than a group shelter by Dec. 31 and developing a training program for DHS supervisors.

The plan also includes increasing the number of foster parents and increasing the reimbursement rate to those who care for foster children.

The plan's cost has been estimated at $153 million over the next five years.

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