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On Roll New Juvenile Court Office Improving Child Support

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On Roll New Juvenile Court Office Improving Child Support Powered By Docstoc
					        June 2004

On A Roll: New Juvenile Court Office
Improving Child Support Processes
By Kevan Goff-Parker
Inside OKDHS Editor
     Oklahoma Statute Title 10 uses
more than 420 words to describe the
meaning of the phrase “deprived
     But whether a child is aban-
doned, neglected, abused or the vic-
tim of depravity, when the court adju-
dicates (to settle judicially) a child as
“deprived,” it’s a sure bet the child is
not receiving the care necessary to
grow and thrive. The last thing these
children need is a lack of financial
support by their parents after being
placed in state custody.
     That’s where Child Support
Enforcement Division’s Supervising
Attorney Katherine E. Vittitow and
the CSED Juvenile Court Office’s
court liaisons come in. The Juvenile
Court Office is a pilot project that        Working hard to speed up processes in the Child Support Enforcement Division,
kicked into full gear on July 1, 2003,      Supervising Attorney with the Juvenile Court Office Katherine E. Vittitow (seat-
                                            ed) is surrounded by her capable team (from left) made up of Melody Rotan,
when personnel were transferred into
                                            Child Support specialist III, Michelle Center, Child Support specialist II and
a new location in the Oklahoma              Melisa Tanksley, Child Support specialist II.
County Juvenile Justice Center in
Oklahoma City. The court liaisons           Operations, OKDHS’ General Coun-           resources necessary to take quick
include Melody Rotan, Child Support         sel and others. It’s a project aimed at    action so that children spend as little
specialist III, Michelle Center, Child      increasing the number of child sup-        time as possible in state custody.
Support specialist II and Melisa            port orders and collections in child       This allows the staff to directly inter-
Tanksley, Child Support specialist II.      welfare cases statewide.                   act with custody specialists, child
     The Juvenile Court Office is the            With more than 30 percent of          welfare workers, child welfare court
brainchild of numerous OKDHS divi-          child welfare cases occurring in Okla-     liaisons, the district attorney’s office
sions and leaders, including OKDHS          homa County, the move to the Okla-         and court personnel.
Director Howard H. Hendrick,                homa County Juvenile Justice Center              Vittitow has practiced family
CSED, Child Welfare, Children and           made sense. The office’s location          law since 1992 and joined OKDHS
Family Services Division, Field             means unprecedented access to the                    JUVENILE continued on page 15
The Chaplain’s Corner
Putting Her Best Foot Forward: Judy Hill
      In early 2003, Inside OKDHS
started a column to address issues of
caring and compassion in our organi-
zation. Putting her “Best Foot For-
ward,” OKDHS Volunteer Chaplain
Judy Hill was on the job to help get the
ball rolling.
      In March, we received word that
the woman who had personally com-
forted so many OKDHS employees
facing personal, family and profession-
al crises was herself in need of our
love, caring and prayers through chap-
laincy. Hill was hospitalized for an
extended period with a diagnosis of
      The Office of Communications
sent out a notice on behalf of the entire
OKDHS Executive Team and staff
requesting your kind thoughts and
prayers for Hill — and you responded
well. Her heart was deeply touched by
your collective outpourings of cards,
phone calls, letters and e-mails.
      While Hill was still working in
the Finance Division before retiring in
1996 she had worked hard with her
friend and former OKDHS Advocate
General R. Chase Gordon to get the
chaplaincy program started. Following       OKDHS Volunteer Chaplain Judy Hill has developed and promoted the chap-
Gordon’s death, Hill became the glob-       laincy program for 10 years.
al face of chaplaincy in OKDHS.                  Hill is recovering well, and we      consider being a chaplain in this
      She has led an effort to expand       continue to monitor her positive          area? You would really be good at it.
the chaplaincy core so that chaplains       progress. She’s looking forward to        We can get you the training you
would be available across the state for     being back in the fight full-time, vis-   need. And, of course, we are going to
employees wanting to use such servic-                                                 support you and your efforts to help
es. This mission for Hill is no accident.                                             the staff in this area. Now don’t say
She came to realize long ago that the
                                                                                      ‘No’ without really thinking about it.
work we do in human services is diffi-
                                                                                      I know you would be a good addition
cult, hard and tedious work. Whether
                                                                                      to the OKDHS chaplaincy team.”
we are in an office, warehouse, institu-
tion or on the frontlines, the work we                                                     Being a chaplain is just one
do supports those in our society who        iting, listening, caring and offering a   more way you can put your Best
are abused, neglected, exploited and        compassionate shoulder for those          Foot Forward to share your heart and
often disenfranchised by life’s chal-       who need it.                              strength of character with co-work-
lenges and those wanting to take                  She may just come sit down          ers. For our friend Judy Hill, consid-
advantage of them. This means we are        with you at some OKDHS event or in        er joining the ranks of the few, the
often facing many of the darker sides       the office and ask that question so       proud; the Chaplains of OKDHS.
of life in Western civilization.            many have heard: “Why don’t you                      – George Earl Johnson Jr.
2                                               INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004
Gillum’s Encouragement Helps Intern Graduate
By Kevan Goff-Parker                                                                   ing as an aide for OKDHS. I said
Inside OKDHS Editor                                                                    ‘No,’ and that all I knew about
     In February, Inside OKDHS                                                         OKDHS was that you could get med-
received an impassioned letter from                                                    ical, food stamps or they could take
Tracey Stevenson. At the time, she                                                     your children. Kathy talked to me and
was a former part-time Child Welfare                                                   said I could do it, I already had my
aide for Muskogee County OKDHS                                                         associate’s degree and that I should
who was serving her internship in                                                      consider applying.
Child Welfare while attending North-                                                         “I left that day grateful for the
eastern State University in Tahle-                                                     food basket and considering all we
quah, Okla. She wanted OKDHS to             Dressed in cap and gown, Tracey            had discussed. I prayed about what
know how Kathy Gillum, a social             Stevenson, a former part-time Child        to do. Finally, at the end of the week
                                            Welfare aide for Muskogee County           I came back and picked up an appli-
services specialist II with Muskogee
                                            OKDHS who also served her college          cation. I filled it out over the week-
County OKDHS, changed her life.             internship in Child Welfare while
Here are excerpts from her letter.          attending Northeastern State Univer-       end, asked friends for references and
                                            sity in Tahlequah, Okla., (front row,      brought the application back on
      “I wanted to tell you about           center) says she’s grateful to Musko-      Monday.
                                            gee County OKDHS. She is sur-                    “Tuesday morning I was called
another worker who was instrumen-           rounded by (L-R, back row) Musko-
tal in changing a client’s life. I was to   gee County OKDHS Child Welfare             to come in for an interview at 9 a.m.
go back to work for the U.S. Postal         Supervisor Lana Jones, Muskogee            I was nervous and scared, but Kathy’s
service when 9-11 happened and the          County OKDHS Child Welfare Direc-          words of encouragement sounded in
                                            tor Gerald Davis and Muskogee              my head. I met with Mr. Mike Jackson
postal service decided to freeze their      County OKDHS’ Kathy Gillum, a
hiring process.                                                                        and spoke with him. He asked when I
                                            social services specialist II. (Not pic-
      “All I needed was to finish their     tured is Muskogee County OKDHS             could start and I said, ‘Tomorrow
academy and I could go back to              Director Mike Jackson.)                    morning at 8 a.m.,’ thinking that he
delivering mail, which I had done for                                                  would probably say that it would take
two years in the past. My husband                                                      more time and another week without
and our two children where living on                                                   income, but instead he said, ‘Be here
one income and our finances were                                                       at 8 a.m.!’
depleting rapidly. Finally, as Thanks-                                                       “The next day, I started as an
giving approached and our pantry                                                       aide in Child Welfare. I loved my job
was empty, I applied for food stamps.                                                  as an aide! Getting to meet new peo-
My husband and I were at our wits’                                                     ple and transport children all over
end. I had applied everywhere to find                                                  Oklahoma has been the best job I
employment and no one was hiring.                                                      have ever had! Mr. Gerald Davis,
We were arguing and the bills were                                                     who has become my mentor (as he is
                                            (L-R) Tracey Stevenson, a former
piling up.                                  OKDHS employee and intern, hugs            to so many workers) has guided me
      “I met with Social Service Spe-       Muskogee County OKDHS’ Kathy               down the path of Title 4E which
cialist II Kathy Gillum to find out if      Gillum, a social services specialist II,   allowed me to go back to school and
                                            and thanks her for making a signifi-       study social work.
we could qualify for food stamps. At        cant difference in her own life and the
the end of our meeting I was devas-         lives of the clients she serves.
                                                                                             “I continued to work as an aide
tated to learn that we were about $30       listened.                                  under my supervisor, Lana Jones,
over the limit and she couldn’t help us           “Kathy was able to help with a       who is a great worker and mentor
with food stamps. I started crying and      food basket. We talked and Kathy           until August 2003. I am currently in
Kathy was very compassionate and            asked if I had ever considered work-                GRADUATE continued on page 12

                                                INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004                                                    3
Think ‘People First’ When Writing About People With Disabilities
By Sheree Powell                             rather than “a mentally retarded              tive.” If you aren’t sure how to refer
Director of Provider                         woman.”                                       to a person’s condition, just ask. And
and Community Relations                            Avoid words like “unfortunate,”         if the disability is not relevant to your
                                             “afflicted” and “victim.” Also, try to        conversation or story, why mention it
      Here are some tips on talking          avoid casting a person with a disabil-        at all?
and writing about people with dis-           ity as a superhuman model of                        Never refer to a person as “con-
abilities. Language is a reflection of       courage. People with disabilities are         fined to a wheelchair.” Wheelchairs
how people see each other. That’s            just people, not tragic figures or            enable people to escape confinement.
why the words we use can hurt. It’s          demigods.                                     A person with mobility impairment
also why responsible communicators                 A developmental disability is           “uses” a wheelchair.
are now choosing language that               not a disease. Do not mention “symp-                Try to describe people without
reflects the dignity of people with          toms,” “patients” or “treatment”              disabilities as “typical” rather than
disabilities – words that put the per-       unless the person you are describing          “normal.” People in the disability
son first, rather than the disability.       has an illness as well as a disability.       community often jokingly refer to
Read on for some tips on using lan-                Use common sense. Avoid terms           those without disabilities as the “tem-
guage that empowers.                         with obvious negative or judgmental           porarily-abled” because most of us, at
      Think people first. Say “a             connotations, such as “crippled,”             some point in our lives, will be faced
woman who has mental retardation,”           “deaf and dumb,” “lame” and “defec-           with a disability.

                                                      News Briefs
    Director Honored        as the premier award      thanked members of        er baskets as a part of   workers that donated
    By Governor             for excellence in pub-    the House and Senate      their volunteer work      items as well as the
                            lic service at all lev-   for aiding the mission    with the HHH              individuals that par-
                            els of government         of human services,        (Humans Helping           ticipated,” Cao said.
                                                      and gave repeated         Humans) Committee.        “We could not do this
                            Director Honored          credit to the OKDHS       HHH has held similar      without their gen-
                            By Legislature            staff for their dedica-   holiday-themed fund-      erosity and support.
                                                      tion to Oklahomans.       raisers throughout the    Serving on this com-
                                                      – DD                      year in an effort to      mittee has been very
                                                                                purchase gifts and        rewarding for us and
          Oklahoma Gov.                               HHHers Hop To It          find resources for        we hope to bring lots
    Brad Henry congratu-                              To Raise Funds            those less fortunate      of cheer to many
    lates Human Services                              For Those In Need         during the Christmas      families, clients and
    Director Howard H.                                                          season.                   individuals in need
    Hendrick on being                                                                 HHH Commit-         this Christmas sea-
    named one of four       Human Services                                      tee Chair Loretta Cao     son.” – KGP
    nationwide leaders to   Director Howard H.                                  said the Easter fund-
    be honored with the     Hendrick addresses                                  raiser was held April     Oklahoma County
    prestigious National    members of the Okla-                                18 in the Sequoyah        55-B Has New
    Public Service          homa House of Rep-             (L-R) The            Building in Okla-         Address
    Award, co-sponsored     resentatives on April     Office of Planning,       homa City. The bas-            Oklahoma
    by the American         22, after the Okla-       Policy and Re-            kets, events like spin-   County 55-B staff
    Society for Public      homa Legislature          search’s Loretta Cao,     ning the “Wheel of        moved into the new
    Administration          approved a concur-        Angela Harnden,           Color,” “Grab Eggs”       Midwest City office
    (ASPA) and the          rent resolution honor-    Dena Thayer (first        and silent auctions       last December. Some
    National Academy of     ing his receipt of the    row) and Cecilia Tan-     raised more than          OKDHS locations
    Public Administra-      prestigious National      nehill (standing)         $500.                     have continued to
    tion (NAPA). The        Public Service            hopped to it when               “We would like      send mail and deliv-
    award is recognized     Award. Hendrick           creating unique East-     to thank all of our co-       Continued on page 12

4                                                 INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004
Accessibility Legislation Widens Web Audience
By Douglas Doe                            Web sites that are not accessible, we      law, the measure would go into
Associate Editor                          alienate a good portion of the very        effect July 1, 2004. However, David-
      Imagine owning a business and       people we should be trying to assist.”     son said he expects the committee
making a decision to exclude, or at            Groundwork for the legislation        will institute a grace period that will
the very least, make it very difficult    was laid last fall when the governor       allow state agencies to convert exist-
for 20 percent of all people to do        appointed more than 20 private and         ing Web sites.
business with your company.               public sector employees to the Elec-            “This phase-in period should be
      Unfortunately, this is what many    tronic and Information Technology          of sufficient length for state agencies
private companies and state govern-       Accessibility Task Force. Members          to avoid temporary measures that
ment agencies have done for mem-          of this task force recommended legis-      would only prove to be counterpro-
bers of the disabled community when       lation that will assure state compli-      ductive,” Davidson said. “We need
it comes to the World Wide Web.           ance concerning the accessibility of       permanent, effective solutions for
That will soon change in Oklahoma         information technology for individu-       Web site accessibility in this state,
now that Gov. Brad Henry has signed       als with disabilities.                     not stop-gap measures that cost time
HB 2917 into law.                              The bill creates a committee that     and money.”
      OKDHS Data Services Divi-           will establish baseline accessibility             Editor’s Note: This article is the
                                          standards that will make Web sites         first in a series of articles about accessi-
sion’s Rodney Davidson, application                                                  bility. Upcoming stories will focus on
specialist IV, who is a member of the     accessible. Many of the requirements       how persons with disabilities use Web
task force that helped drive the con-     are expected to be based on the same       sites and the Internet, how to check to
tent of the legislation, said creating    guidelines that govern federal gov-        ensure a Web site meets the federal
accessible Web sites and applications     ernment Web sites.                         accessibility standards in Section 508 of
                                               In addition, the bill calls for all   the Workforce Investment Act and what
makes good business sense for the                                                    OKDHS is doing to meet the challenges
state.                                    software, telecommunications prod-         of creating accessible Web sites and
      “This is an attainable goal with    ucts, computers and video and multi-       applications. For more information
the technology that is currently avail-   media products to be accessible to         about accessibility, please go to
able,” Davidson said. “By building        people with disabilities. If signed into   http://s99web01/accessibility/

                                              INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004                                                         5
    ‘Caught Working’ At
    Oklahoma County 55-D
    Employees at OKDHS Oklahoma
    County 55-D are housed in the Okla-
    homa County Juvenile Justice Cen-
    ter. The place is abuzz with OKDHS
    employees working hard helping oth-
    ers. Inside OKDHS recently “Caught
    (them) Working.” From top center
    and clockwise are Felice Billups,
    supervisor, Infant Parenting Pro-
    gram, CFSD; Lesli Williams, adop-
    tion specialist III, CFSD; Melisa
    Tanksley, Child Support Specialist II,
    CSED; Melody Rotan, Child Support
    Specialist III, CSED; Jill Johnson,
    adoption specialist II, CFSD; Linque
    Gillett, adoption specialist II, CFSD,
    and Michelle Center, Child Support
    Specialist II, CSED. -KGP

6       INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004
Sibling Reunion Brings Foster Children Back Together
By Dustin Pyeatt
Associate Editor
      Over, under, around and through
… over, under, around and through.
      “Don’t worry, I’m not tender-
headed,” Kali Bowles reassured the
young girl who was carefully twisting
Bowles’ curly reddish-brown hair.
Bowles, an Area III independent living
specialist, was one of several Child
Welfare staff patiently sitting in the
grass as a group of foster children prac-
ticed their hair-braiding techniques.
      Over, under, around and through
… over, under, around and through.
      During the sunny, windy weekend
of April 16–18, the lives of 51 foster
children, separated from their siblings
in different foster homes, were woven
back together during the Sibling
Reunion Celebration at Red Rock             (L-R) Enjoying a perfect day at the Foster Care Sibling Reunion held in mid-April
Canyon State Park in Hinton.                are Kali Bowles and Misty Codrey, both with the National Resource Center and
                                            Lindsey Bunch with Youth Services of Oklahoma County.
      The event, conceived and coordi-
nated by Girl Scout Troop 798 and co-       started talking about next year, but we    clowns. OKDHS staff photographer
sponsored by the Oklahoma Depart-           want corporate sponsors to do it again.”   Jim Gumm took family photos, and the
ment of Tourism, not only took months             Girl Scout Troop 798 raised more     children were also given disposable
to organize, but also included a major      than $3,200 for the weekend event. The     cameras to document the weekend
fund-raising effort on the part of some     Dr. Laura Schlessinger Foundation          themselves. The Girl Scouts hosted arts
dedicated young women.                      donated duffle bags. The Norman            and craft classes, a scavenger hunt, tie-
      “It went better than we expected,”    Regional Hospital donated pillowcases      dyeing and face painting. The Boy
said Leea Logston, one of the Girl          that the children tie-dyed and kept as     Scouts set up an obstacle course and
Scouts responsible for the event. “We       mementos of their trip.                    hauled wood for a huge campfire.
have some Boy Scouts and members of               The children were treated to snow          One seven-year-old camper, the
Venture Crew here, too. We’ve already       cones, popcorn, cotton candy and           youngest of three siblings, when asked
                                                                                       if she had fun seeing her two older
                                                                                       brothers, smiled and nodded her head
                                                                                       yes. She then whispered, “I liked the
                                                                                       scavenger hunt, too.”
                                                                                             “This event is incredible,” said
                                                                                       Bowles. “It’s nice to see the siblings
                                                                                       relax together. I’ve enjoyed seeing them
                                                                                       say good night to each other.”
                                                                                             As the sun set, Bowles took the
                                                                                       rubber bands out of her braids and
                                                                                       shook them out of her curly mane. The
                                                                                       next day, busses loaded up the children
                                                                                       to take them back to their foster homes,
                                                                                       safe from the violence and neglect in the
                                                                                       homes from which they were removed,
                                                                                       but far from the embrace of their broth-
                                                                                       ers and sisters.
                                                INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004                                                      7
State Ceremony Pays
Tribute To Volunteers
By Kevan Goff-Parker
Inside OKDHS Editor
     With all the challenges facing OKDHS and
the state, those who volunteer their time to help
the state’s most vulnerable do a tremendous serv-
ice for OKDHS and the people of Oklahoma.
Whether they volunteer working with students,
drive seniors to appointments or act as literacy
instructors, OKDHS has hundreds of volunteers
spread throughout the state – each of them deter-
mined to give back to their community.
     Some prepare meals at their local senior citi-
zens center, others make gifts for children in
OKDHS custody and still others serve as activists
for senior, children and health and disability
issues. Overall, they “help with real life” (this
year’s awards ceremony’s theme) and that’s why
OKDHS honored them with various awards on
April 21 in the Concourse Theater at the Sequoy-
ah Building in Oklahoma City.
     The volunteers filled the theater and ranged
in ages from teens to senior citizens. They were
the cream of the crop of the more than 662 out-
standing individual volunteers and volunteer
organizations that were honored in various cere-
monies statewide during April and May.
                   VOLUNTEERS continued on page 10
Volunteers                 continued from page 8                                      Congratulations And
      Eighteen individuals and 10         sented the awards.                          Best Wishes To Our
organizations received state level hon-         Upon receiving his special volun-
ors, including those selected to receive  teer award, Munnell teased Director
the special awards named for Donna        Hendrick.
Nigh, Ed Birchall and Freida Mosley. A          “The director has to be pretty        April
special volunteer award was also given    decent to us because we hired him,”
to Oklahoma Commission for Human          Munnell said. “The director has been        Beckham County
Services Commissioner Dr. Edward          doing an incredible job. I wasn’t so sure   Gerry Barker, 32 years
Munnell, MD, and former OKDHS             at first, with him being a lawyer, CPA      Beverly Jones, 25 years
Director George A. Miller.                and a politician.
      OKDHS Director Howard H.                  “This can be a tough place to be
                                                                                      Logan County
Hendrick told the near capacity crowd     because he’s responsible for keeping
                                                                                      Jeanna L. Hasley, 25 years
that there was “no way” OKDHS could       everything working and none of us
help as many families without volunteer   could do it without volunteers … with-
help and he felt humbled by their dedi-   in their hearts, they are getting paid.”    Oklahoma County 55-B
cation to Oklahomans in need.                   OKDHS Volunteer Coordinator           Lacrecia R. McKinney, 25 years
      “You are the best of the best vol-  Karen Jacobs presented Miller, her for-
unteers from across the state,” Hendrick  mer direct supervisor with whom she         Oklahoma County 55-C
said. “Thank you for the service that     worked with for 11 years, with his spe-     Franklin Jones, 8 years
you do.”                                  cial volunteer award.
      Oklahoma Human Services Com-              “He was always about the biz,”
                                                                                      Tulsa 72-G
mission Chair Steve Bailey read a         Jacobs said, laughing. “I was always
                                                                                      Jenny L. Hammons, 19 years
proclamation signed by Gov. Brad          about the smiles and the fun. We got to
Henry naming the week of April 21st as    be friends, and the scary part is that I
“Volunteer Recognition Week in Okla-      began to think like him!”                   Tulsa 72-H
homa” and Bailey told the crowd that “          Special tributes were also present-   Jack M. Keller, 27 years
… as a fellow volunteer, you make such    ed to three individuals. They include
a mighty difference to the people in this Jess Nelson of Guymon (Donna Nigh           Administrative Services
state.”                                   Award for Public Service), Harold           Larry R Harmon, 33 years
      Superb vocal entertainment was      Goodman (HoHo the Clown) of Ponca
provided by the University of Central     City (Ed Birchall for Humanitarian Ser-
                                                                                      Child Support Enforcement
Oklahoma’s Concert Chorale, and           vice) and Tammy Mayden of Newkirk
Maressa K. Seat, campaign field direc-    (Freida Mosley Award for Outstanding
                                                                                      Mary A. Blunt, 15 years
tor for Congressman Ernest Istook pre-    Service by an OKDHS Employee).

                                                                                      Developmental Disabilities
                                                                                      Service Division
                                                                                      JoAnne Lee Walters, 22 years

                                                                                      Field Operations
                                                                                      Henry Lee Smith, 25 years
                                                                                      JoAnn K. Sullivan, 24 years
                                                                                      Linda S. Watson, 34 years

                                                                                      Office Support Services Division
                                                                                      Kenneth H. Hendrix, 24 years

                                                                                      Carl E. Duley, 19 years

10                                               INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004
2004 Annual State Games And FallFest Set For Sept. 17-18

By Kevan Goff-Parker
Inside OKDHS Editor
       It’s time to put on your game face
for the 2004 Annual State Games and
FallFest scheduled Sept. 17-18. The
event will take place at multiple venues
in and around the Joe B. Barnes
Regional Park and the City of Midwest
City Senior Center, located at 200 N.
Midwest Blvd. in Midwest City.
       Co-chaired by George E. Johnson
Jr., director, Office of Communications
and Kim Poff, social services inspector
III, Office of Inspector General, partici-
pation in the State Games is a long-time
                                             Highlights from the 2003 State Games in western Oklahoma.
tradition for OKDHS. This year’s event
will be the first time in seven years the    that the games be brought back to Okla-       employees attending the games from 1
games will be held in Central Okla-          homa City. Director Howard H. Hen-            p.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 17, as part of the
homa. Johnson said the first State           drick and OKDHS officers then decided         OKDHS Wellness Program. The fair
Games were held in 1987 in Earlywine         they wanted the State Games to stay           will be held on one of the sites in Mid-
Park in Southwest Oklahoma City.             alive. The officers asked the OKDHS           west City where the State Games will
       “When we first started the State      Certified Public Managers Steering            occur. The OKDHS Wellness Fair will
Games, OKDHS was going through a             Committee to take a leadership role in        provide a variety of resources and infor-
reduction-in-force and furloughs,”           planning this year’s State Games and to       mation, all intended to better the health
Johnson said. “Morale was low and the        streamline and document processes for         of our co-workers. Training credit will
request came in from the Executive           future games.                                 be given for those attending the
Office saying we needed a morale                   The date of the State Games was         OKDHS Wellness Fair.
booster. Some guy (Johnson) said,            set so that it will coincide with the State         Another highlight of the two-day
‘Why don’t we have State Games so            Fair of Oklahoma, which runs Sept. 16-        event will be the Children’s Fair that
that all employees can engage in friend-     26 and the University of Oklahoma vs.         will feature family fun attractions,
ly competition?’and a team of four indi-     Oregon home football game in Norman           including a moonwalk.
viduals developed the concept.”              on Sept. 18, allowing participants from             Poff said the Executive Games
       Johnson said this year’s goal is to   out-of-town the opportunity to enjoy          will be held on Sept. 17, and describes
have more than 500 participants regis-       shopping, various events and time to          them as “comic relief” featuring state
ter, including OKDHS retirees and            visit with friends and family in the area.    executives participating in silly games
spouses.                                           During the State Games, partici-        like tricycle races, the lifesaver pass and
       “We’re back, and you’re going to      pants can enjoy a softball tournament,        more.
come!” Johnson said. “It’s good cama-        bowling, three-on-three basketball, vol-            “Another fun event will be safety
raderie. One of the reasons we’re bring-     leyball, horseshoes, darts, poker, Skip-      awareness for children,” Poff said.
ing it back to Central Oklahoma is that      bo, dominoes, “Win, Lose Or Draw,”            “This will include local emergency
there was concern because of declining       Trivial Pursuit, golf, spades, “OKDHS         medical service personnel, fire and
attendance in the past.”                     Idol Karaoke,” the Don Smith 5-K Run,         police, as well as the opportunity for
       He said last November, OKDHS’         co-ed relay and a silent auction.             children to be fingerprinted. We plan to
Judith Atkinson pulled together a team             The Human Resources Manage-             have the Indian Territory Regulators
and took recommendations from field          ment Division will sponsor a pre-State        perform Sept. 18, in the Kids Zone at
staff to the executive officers suggesting   Games OKDHS Wellness Fair for                               GAMES continued on page 14

                                                  INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004                                                        11
                              News Briefs                                          Graduate
     Continued from page 4   a-half day conference.     (HIPAA) to safeguard       continued from page 3
 eries to the old address.   – Judy Leitner, Aging      our clients’ and           my second semester as a practicum
 This has caused client      Services                   patients’ protected
                                                                                   student at Muskogee County and I
 service disruptions.                                   health information.
 Please send all corre-                                                            will graduate May 8, 2004, with my
                             Eighth Annual              Here are a few specific
 spondence to the new        Health & Safety            reminders about            bachelor’s degree in Social Work.
 address:                    Conference Set             HIPAA training offered          “I thank God for bringing me to
 Oklahoma Department         For June 17                to OKDHS employees:        Kathy that day. I was at the end of my
 of Human Services                 OKDHS Risk                 HIPAA Privacy        rope and needed direction and help. I
 Oklahoma County 55B         Management 8th Annu-       Web-based training is      needed an angel and Kathy came to
 9901 S.E. 29th Street       al Health & Safety         now available on the
                                                                                   the rescue! If Kathy hadn’t taken the
 Midwest City, OK            Conference is sched-       OKDHS Learning
                                                                                   time to talk, listen, encourage and
                             uled for Thursday, June    Management System at
      Questions may be       17, 2004, at the Reed      http://dhslms.oucpm        empower me, my life, my marriage
 directed to Shirley         Conference Center,         .org                       and the lives of my children could
 Bomar at (405) 739-         located in Midwest               It has been          have been very different.
 8000.                       City. Registration         approximately one year          “In my social work classes we
                             begins at 8 a.m. and the   since the initial dead-    discuss empowering clients to lead
 Aging Minority              conference starts at 9     line for HIPAA Privacy
                                                                                   better lives, and Kathy certainly
 Conference Draws            a.m. All OKDHS             training implementa-
                                                                                   empowered not just my life, but all the
 More Than 300               employees are invited.     tion. If you would like
      More than 300          The conference is free     to receive training        lives I will touch because she took
 people attended the         of charge and six hours    credits for 2004, you      those few minutes to show she cared.”
 19th annual Oklahoma        of training credit are     may log in to the               Tracey Stevenson
 Aging Minority Con-         available. To register,    Learning Management             Muskogee County OKDHS
                             go to http://www.peo-      System and take the
                        training modules again.         When Inside OKDHS caught up
                             siteCode=0214&event-             All employees
                                                                                   with Gillum in early May, she shared
                             Disp=5521042401&sub        who come into contact
                             eventDisp=PART&CFI         with any form of pro-      that she was invited to Stevenson’s
                             D=1760250&CFTO-            tected health informa-     upcoming graduation celebration. She
                             KEN=7043330                tion MUST have             said she’s very proud of Stevenson’s
 ference held March 24-                                 already completed the      accomplishments.
 26 in Oklahoma City.        National Health            HIPAA Privacy train-            “Although I could not qualify
 Pictured above are Flo-     Information Privacy        ing.                       her for food stamps based on the fam-
 rence Mubichi, R.N., a      and Security                     We offer alterna-
                                                                                   ily income, I recommended she go
 graduate student at the     Reminders                  tive methods of HIPAA
 OU College of Nursing            OKDHS wants to        Privacy training if your   back to college and get her degree so
 (above, left), and          raise awareness of the     division, unit, facility   that she could become self-suffi-
 Nancy Chu, Ph.D.,           importance of protect-     or county office staff     cient,” Gillum said. “When she first
 R.N., University of         ing the privacy, confi-    desires a different        came in to see if she could qualify,
 Oklahoma College of         dentiality and security    approach. Video work-      she was very emotional. I spent extra
 Nursing and conference      of personal health         shops or special “tai-     time with her.
 chair. The pair visited     information.               lored” classroom train-
                                                                                        “I feel like what I actually did
 following Mubichi’s              Now is a great        ings are available by
 presentation on aging       time to remind all         contacting Tammy           was insignificant – it was all Tracey.
 in Kenya, her home          OKDHS employees of         Williams by phone          We’ve become friends, and I always
 country. Mubichi’s          our obligation under       521-4095 or                give her hugs. She will be a good
 presentation was one of     the Health Insurance       Tammy.Williams             social worker and hopes to work for
 24 workshops present-       Portability and                  OKDHS. I’m proud of her.”
 ed during the two-and-      Accountability Act

12                                              INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004
   Inside OKDHS recently
traveled to Washington D.C.,
     during the National
  Association of Public Child
    Welfare Administrators
    Forum. Here, they are
   “Caught Working” in the
       nation’s capitol.

                                Sharon F. Neuwald, Ph.D., (right) OKDHS chief of Projects and Legislative Rela-
                                tions, shares a moment with Elaine Ryan, deputy executive director of govern-
                                mental affairs for the American Public Human Services Association, Washington,
                                D.C. Neuwald’s position in Oklahoma mirrors Ryan’s duties with the United
                                States Congress, federal government agencies and human services partner
                                organizations. Both invest countless hours on the phone, cell phones, comput-
                                ers and in meetings across their respective capitol cities, all in an effort to pro-
 Susan Hall during              vide insight and clarity on critical issues facing human services at the state and
 the plenary session.           national levels. They have laptops and they do travel.

                                  (L-R) Linda Smith and Kathy Simms greet
Peggy Butcher, pro-                                                                          James Conway partici-
                                  Jane Morgan, former long-time OKDHS Chil-
grams administrator,                                                                         pates in a communica-
                                  dren and Family Services Division employee.
listens to comments on                                                                       tions and crisis man-
Welfare Reform.                                                                              agement session

 Mary Stalnaker, right, chats with incoming              George Earl Johnson, Jr.,(right) talks with Tom
 chair of the National Council of State Human            Delay (R-TX), Majority Leader, U.S. House of Rep-
 Services Administrators, Janet Schalansky.              resentatives.

                                        INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004                                                       13
Games             continued from page 11                                                   June 2004 OKDHS
                                                                                           Calendar Of Events
                                                                                      Editor’s Note: Details about these events may
                                                                                      be found on the OKDHS InfoNet Calendar of
                                                                                           Events. Dates are subject to change.
                                                                                      June is Children’s Awareness Month and June
                                                                                          1-7 is International Volunteers Week.

                                                                                                        June 3
                                                                                             APS Field Liaison Meeting
                                                                                        Oklahoma State Council On Aging
                                                                                                        June 4
                                                                                      Relatives As Parent Program Task Force
                                                                                                        June 7
                                                                                           Executive Team Meeting a.m.
                                                                                         FOD Area Director Meeting p.m.
                                                                                                     June 7-25
                                                                                           FSSD New Worker Academy
                                                                                                        June 8
                                                                                       DDSD Group Homes for Persons with
                                                                                      Developmental or Physical Disabilities
                                                                                                   Advisory Board
                                                                                                      June 8-11
                                                                                           New Supervisor Academy 22
                                                                                                        June 9
                                                                                          Child Care Advisory Committee
                                                                                                       June 14
                                                                                                 National Flag Day
                                                                                           OKDHS Flag Day Celebration
                                                                                         Field Operations Division/County
                                                                                       Administrators’ Association Executive
(L-R) OKDHS’ George E. Johnson Jr., director, Office of Communications; Kim                        Board Meeting
Poff, social services inspector III, Office of Inspector General and Janet Hailey,                     June 15
internal audit manager, OIG, are getting prepped to participate in the 18th Annu-           Court Appointed Advocates
al OKDHS State Games scheduled for Sept. 17-18 in Midwest City. Johnson and                    for Vulnerable Adults
Poff are co-chairs of the event, and Hailey is team treasurer.                          Oklahoma Commission for Human
                                                                                                  Services Meeting
the park.                                   strikes in a row. The State Games have
                                                                                                     June 15-18
      “They will perform a gunfight,        been good for my personal morale.”
                                                                                        Experienced Supervisor Academy G
talk about gun safety and mingle with             Johnson said he hopes OKDHS                          June 17
the families in the park. We also hope to   employees and their families will reg-             Oklahoma Partnership
have music Friday evening and possibly      ister early, and said a Web site is in              for School Readiness
Saturday night. It’s just a lot of fun!”    development for employees to go                            June 18
      Johnson described the food avail-     online for registration forms and other       Volunteer Services Credit Bank
able during the State Games as “worth       information.                                          Advisory Council
coming out for.”                                  “We are the only government                          June 20
      State Games Committee Treasurer       agency that has developed such a long                   Father’s Day
Janet Hailey, internal audit manager,       lasting event that is based on a compe-      Summer Begins (7:57 p.m., CST)
OIG, said she loves the State Games         tition designed to boost the morale of                     June 22
and participated in the first games at      our employee base,” Johnson said.
                                                                                                       June 24
Earlywine Park.                             “The State Games bring us all back
                                                                                              Area V County Director
      “The State Games are great,” Hai-     together and reconnect us with our              and Field Liaison Meetings
ley said. “You get to meet people in the    roots.                                                     June 30
Agency that you have not met before.              For more information, e-mail               APS Field Liaison Meeting
During the State Games that were held                           FSSD Field Liaison Meeting
in Broken Arrow, I bowled seven
14                                              INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004
Juvenile            continued from page 1
in February 2003. She said her work       Tanksley said. “We’ve gotten to
is exciting because she feels she has     know the judges in our courtrooms,
the chance to make a difference for       and they look for us during disposi-
deprived children needing paternity       tions (when the child is adjudicated).”
established and child support.                 Vittitow said that by establishing
      “It’s exciting,” Vittitow said.     child support orders in deprived child
“This is one of those times in state      cases, one hope is that children will
government when you can do cre-           spend less time in foster care because
ative problem solving and believe it      parents or caretakers will work their
has a positive impact on children and     treatment plans faster.
families statewide.”                           “We can also check to determine
      Vittitow describes the Juvenile     whether parents are complying with
Court Office as a “hybrid” unit doing     the order,” she said. “These processes
both local and state office work. Its     move the child welfare case faster
mission includes establishing orders,     toward resolution.”
reviewing payment records, perform-            Vittitow describes a recent case
ing standard casework and assisting       where a potential father of a child
district offices with child welfare       who was in state custody wasn’t
cases. They research existing Okla-       aware he might have a child and was
homa County juvenile cases for child      given a paternity (genetic) test by
support orders and update child sup-      CSED. He was determined to be the
port records. The office also works on    child’s parent and the child was later
identifying systemic problems and         placed with him.
solutions, policy for CSED offices,            “He was so excited when he
outreach and training.                    found out he had a child,” she said.
      Tanksley said OKDHS has vari-       “He stepped up to the plate and took
ous computer systems, including dif-      responsibility for his child. There are
ferent ones for CSED, Family Sup-         many situations where fathers can be
port Services Division and one for        good placement options for children
Child Welfare. As a court liaison, she    in OKDHS custody.”
and her team work to mesh informa-             In addition to addressing the
tion from the different systems so that   systemic challenges sometimes
cases are reviewed on all three sys-      involved with Child Support cases,
tems and to make sure OKDHS               Vittitow and her team partner with
employees have the information            OKDHS’ three Oklahoma City metro
needed to work child welfare cases.       Child Support offices, as well as
       “We have about 2,700 cases         work on legislative issues, including
right now,” Tanksley said. “We are        bills designed to revise or clarify
able to bring together lots of informa-   child support provisions and paterni-
tion about children who are in state      ty. They also emphasize outreach and
custody. Child support specialists can    training.
call us and we can give them the most          “This has been a good opportu-
up-to-date information.”                  nity to work with the other divi-
      She said another big part of a      sions,” Vittitow said. “We are all con-
court liaison’s job is obtaining child    nected. It takes all of us to make this
support orders in court.                  work, including juvenile justice
      “We research cases to calculate     stakeholders, Field Operations, the
child-support guidelines, prepare         FSSD and CFSD. I believe we are on
orders and present them in court,”        the leading edge of this issue.”

                                              INSIDE OKDHS — June 2004              15
                          Inside OKDHS is published for
                          employees and retirees of the Oklahoma
                          Department of Human Services as a joint
                          effort of the Office of Communications, the
                          Publications Section and the Print Shop.

                                 Howard H. Hendrick, Director
                                Department of Human Services
                                   George Earl Johnson Jr.
                                 Director of Communications
                                         Alice Carrillo
                                   Publications Section and
                                    Print Shop Supervisor

                                       Editorial Team:
                                  Kevan Goff-Parker, Editor
                               Dustin Pyeatt, Associate Editor
                                Douglas Doe, Associate Editor
                             Stephanie Bond, Publications Editor
                                Carla Garrett, Office Manager
                             Casey Harvey, Asst. Office Manager
                                 Tony Hennigh, Graphic Artist
                                  Jim Gumm, Photographer

                          OKDHS S04081                          Issued 06/2004
                          Publication of Inside OKDHS is authorized by the Okla-
                          homa Commission for Human Services in accordance
                          with state and federal regulations and printed by the
                          Oklahoma Department of Human Services at a cost of
                          $3,226.40 for 4,033 copies. Copies have been deposit-
                          ed with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries Publica-
                          tions Clearinghouse. Contents are not copyrighted and
                          may be freely quoted unless otherwise noted.

Oklahoma Department of
Human Services
P.O. Box 25352
Oklahoma City, OK 73125