Communications & Public Affairs
Feb. 20, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Collin Walke
Phone: (405) 557-7335
Child Protection Legislation Passes House, Heads to Senate
OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation designed to better protect children in the custody of the Department Human Services passed off the House Floor on Tuesday.
House Bill 1036, authored by Rep. Collin Walke (D-OKC), passed with a bipartisan vote of 94-3.
The legislation would prohibit a parent who has had his or her parental rights terminated from being appointed to serve as the child’s guardian.
“Like a lot of our state agencies, DHS is underfunded and understaffed,” Walke said. “When agencies are underfunded and understaffed, they have to make hard decisions that they wouldn’t normally make if they had adequate resources. This legislation is a proactive measure that prevents DHS from allowing a parent that has had their parental rights terminated to serve as the child’s guardian.”
While presenting the legislation on the House Floor, Walke reiterated that there is a process in place to reestablish parental rights, and that this legislation won’t affect that process.
“This is about ensuring what is best for the child,” Walke said. “I encourage parents that have lost parental rights to do what is necessary to get them back, but the state isn’t going to let those parents act as a guardian until that process is complete.”