DHS Should Release Serenity Deal Report

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Mike Sanders said today that he agrees with House Speaker Kris Steele that the Department of Human Services should release its report on last month’s death of a five-year-old Oklahoma girl, Serenity Deal.

“This agency has a regular habit of putting off tough questions and I am frustrated that they would keep another family in limbo as they delay issuing a report,” Sanders (R-Kingfisher) said. “Lawmakers would like to know how this happened and how we can go about fixing the problem that led to this tragedy.”

Serenity was beaten to death June 4. DHS officials had placed Serenity in her father’s care as part of a trial reunification despite having documented evidence that Serenity had been repeatedly injured while in his care in the past, according to a report by the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth.

Serenity’s father has been charged with her murder.

DHS officials on June 15 told media outlets that the agency’s review of the case would be released the week of June 18. However, the report on the review has yet to be released. Further, the report was not delivered to the agency’s governing board, the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services, at its meeting today.

The Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth, which serves as a watchdog over DHS, completed its report on Serenity’s death within ten days. It has been 52 days since Serenity died and no DHS report has been released.

The Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth report indicates there were major disagreements among DHS officials in Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties about whether Serenity should have been placed in her father’s custody.

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