OKLAHOMA CITY – Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, a group of legislators will soon host an interim study to examine adoption and the foster care system within Oklahoma.
Reps. Brian Hill, R-Mustang, Brad Boles, R-Marlow, and Dick Lowe, R-Amber, requested Interim Study 22-074 to take an in-depth look at possible avenues for reduce barriers to permanency and find options to support a more efficient foster care system without compromising the well-being of children in the program.
"The ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to return to the states the decision whether to permit abortions has already had a huge ripple effect throughout our nation, including right here in Oklahoma, where we've passed the most pro-life legislation in the country," said Hill, a former foster parent. "We've made great strides in recent years to significantly improve our state's foster care system, but we want to ensure the state is well-prepared to give all current and future children the care and support they deserve."
"I've been a very vocal supporter and co-author of many pro-life bills since I was elected in March of 2018. This is a very personal issue to me since I was adopted at birth, and I thank God every day that the adoption process led me to my loving family," Boles said. "We must ensure that our Oklahoma adoption and foster care systems are well-funded and functioning efficiently so we can best serve this population in need. I'm looking forward to learning more about what we can to in the Legislature to help improve this process."
According to the Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services (DHS), approximately 7,000 children are currently in the foster care system.
"I particularly am interested in studying ways to make our current foster and adoption system more efficient, reducing burdensome regulations and costs for people who want to help raise these children," Lowe said. "At the same time, it's incredibly important to safeguard the kids entrusted to the state's care. I'm interested to hear firsthand experiences and ideas from our study participants as we consider ways to better serve our children."
The interim study will be held before the House Children, Youth and Family Services Committee but hasn't yet been scheduled. Interim studies must conclude by November.