, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

April 14, 2013

DHS boss cancels contracts for foster family recruitment

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — DHS Director Ed Lake abruptly canceled 10 recently awarded contracts Friday with private agencies retained to assist in recruiting and retaining foster families.

Lake acted after state lawmakers forwarded complaints from other provider agencies that were dissatisfied with the competitive selection process.

“Please know that my decision has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the agencies awarded contracts,” Lake said in a memo to the affected private agencies. “However, I firmly believe the downside of going forward under these conditions outweigh the benefits for both your agency and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.”

Lake cited four major reasons for canceling the performance-based contracts:

The language of the request for proposals was too “prescriptive” and worked against “provider creativity, flexibility and capability.”

The service regions of the state were artificially defined and worked “against the reality of how resource homes could be recruited and supported.”

By limiting the number of contractors to 10 from specific regions, the competitive process eliminated a lot of high-quality agencies that could help the state, he said. Also, the private contractors weren’t allowed enough say in the design and details of contracts.

Lake told The Oklahoman that he also had received provider complaints about the harshness of financial penalty provisions within the contracts and that some had expressed confusion about certain terms and conditions.

Lake noted that bids for the contracts had already been received by the time he was named director.

DHS plans to start immediately to design a new selection process and wants to have new contracts in place by July 1, said Sheree Powell, a DHS spokeswoman.

DHS has the right to cancel contracts within 60 days of the times they are awarded, and this cancellation was within that time frame, Powell said.

Four state representatives issued a news release Friday saying they also agreed with the action.

“We realize that this move by the department will unfortunately further delay the essential step of partnering with private organizations to recruit, train and support foster families,” Reps. Pam Peterson, Jason Nelson, Pat Ownbey and Wade Rousselot said in their joint news release. “However, we believe moving forward with the current process would yield significantly worse results over the long run compared to a delay in the short run necessary to address these significant issues.”

Text Only
Oklahoma News
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

     View Results
Featured Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.