State Innovations in Child Welfare Financing. Oklahoma: Oklahoma Children’s Services


The Oklahoma Children’s Services initiative was begun in a limited area in 1989 and expanded statewide in 1992. The “backbone” of the program is Comprehensive Home-Based Services, with the objectives of bringing about reunification quickly for families with children in care; preventing family breakdown for intact families with children at risk of placement; and preventing disruption for youth in placement who are at risk of disruption. It focuses on preventive, supportive, and wraparound services, and has put resources into developing local capacity to provide services and enhancing community ownership of child welfare.

The initiative has a caseload of about 2,000 families and includes 12 contracts with 8 contractors, based on geographic area. The contractors do all case management, assessments, case planning, referrals, and service delivery. Funding is allotted to each district based on the number of children in care in that district, and limited by the amount the legislature appropriates. Annual contracts specify the funding amount and the number of children and families the funding is supposed to cover, and each contractor serves everyone referred. The state closely monitors contractor spending and services delivered, and can take funding away if it not used on services to families.

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