Claremore Daily Progress

Community News

February 12, 2013

New DHS director lays out plan for future

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s embattled Department of Human Services has the opportunity to remake itself, its new director said Monday, outlining a broad vision for the future.

In a talk at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, Director Ed Lake said he wants to increase staff on the ground, improve communication with providers and other agencies and reorganize the child welfare system.

Lake accepted the DHS director post in November as the dust settled from a class action lawsuit against the department over several high-profile deaths of children under the state’s watch.

Though he acknowledged some members of the department made clear mistakes, Lake told The Associated Press, “I wouldn’t want to blame people inside the system for failures of the system.”

Following the lawsuit’s settlement and the voter-approved Pinnacle Plan, the department is set to be completely reworked. It has begun converting its leadership to governor-appointed panels, changing its child welfare system’s workings and hiring more social workers to make individual workloads manageable.

“We can’t PR ourselves to a better image,” he told a crowd of dozens of social workers, DHS partners and other Oklahoma residents. “We have to perform our way there, and that is a process that isn’t going to happen in six or seven months by any stretch of the imagination.

“We are trying to reinvent ourselves.”

Lake said he spent most of January talking with DHS employees, management teams and other stakeholders to develop more areas of potential improvement. He said he repeatedly heard about aging computer systems and facilities, a need for customer service training and a need for more money — not only for contracted partners, but for DHS employees.

“When many, many employees have not had raises for six or seven years straight, I can understand why that becomes a critical issue,” Lake said, though he noted state employee salaries were beyond his control. “With the recession and budget cuts and staffing cuts, we really are having to make do with fewer employees in many areas.”

Text Only
Community News
  • OHCE state meeting Oowala OHCE Group attends state conference in Norman

    The 79th Annual State Conference of Oklahoma Home and Community Education was held at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in Norman, Okla. on July 13-15, 2014.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Child abuse awareness Timms brings child abuse awareness to Claremore
    Rodney Timms, a child abuse survivor, will visit the Rogers County Courthouse at 2 p.m. Wednesday as part of his 77 county tour.
     

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Silent Auction Saturday at First Presbyterian Church Claremore

    First Presbyterian Church Claremore will host a Silent Auction from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 19.
    All items remaining in the two houses on 5th Street —105 and 109 E. 5th Street — will be auctioned off, among them, light fixtures, doors, cabinets, shelving, flooring, and more.

    July 18, 2014

  • American Red Cross offers volunteer opportunities

     Disasters don’t take summer vacations. American Red Cross volunteers are needed year round to help those struggling with the loss of their homes and belongings because of disaster.

    July 17, 2014

  • Paula Deen Keen on Deen

    Two weeks ago, Claremore resident Susan Hammett-Krackov took her daughter, Robin Baldwin, on a Mother’s Day excursion to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., to meet celebrity chef Paula Deen. 

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zebra band kicks off summer practice
    A new school year is approaching, and for the Claremore High School Band, that means summer rehearsals.
     

    July 8, 2014

  • Hazel Mooney celebrates 100 years

    Hazel Mooney, a Claremore resident at The Brookfield, is celebrating her 100th birthday party this week.

    July 4, 2014

  • Willis Dr. Willis honored as a ‘Woman of Inspiration’

    Rogers State University’s Dr. Susan Willis was recognized as a Woman of Inspiration for serving her community with relentless dedication and passion while impacting the lives of area youth and community members.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • U Pick Them Berry picking on the 4th

    Sandra Patterson has her home on land that has been passed down in her family for over 100 years. In 2009 she and her husband, David, decided to do something with all of their acreage.  

    July 2, 2014 2 Photos

  • Edwards-Matheson named new Red Cross Advisory Board Chair

    Misty Edwards-Matheson is the new Advisory Board Chair for the Rogers/Mayes/Wagoner County Service Center of the American Red Cross.

    July 1, 2014