The Senate gave final approval to legislation Tuesday to put the rights and protections of Oklahoma’s foster kids into state statute. House Bill 2552, authored by Sen. A.J. Griffin and Rep. Pat Ownbey, passed unanimously.
“Oklahoma has around 9,600 kids in state custody and it’s our legal and moral responsibility to protect their rights and best interests,” said Griffin, R-Guthrie. “This bill will ensure that these kids and their foster families are aware of those rights while also providing a safe way for foster kids to report grievances.”
HB 2552 establishes certain rights for children in the custody of the Department of Human Services (DHS) with regard to their placement, safety, privacy, communication and personal growth. It also directs DHS and child placing agencies to develop grievance procedures for children in custody.
Oklahoma has been recognized nationally by various organizations and associations for the many improvements made to its foster care system in recent years.
Many of the changes were advocated or authored by Griffin, a former foster parent and strong advocate for children.
The bill now goes to the governor’s desk for final approval.