The Department of Human Services would like to thank you for responding to the customer service survey sent to you in May. There were 718 participants including foster parents, RFP partners, and tribal partners. Your input was sought in an effort to assist DHS in providing better customer service. Overall, many of you indicated our customer service was helpful and we had friendly staff. While we are pleased to hear that, we understand that has not always been the case and we are always striving to do more and to be better at meeting the needs of our partners.
You identified the following areas for DHS:
- Lack of responsiveness; 33% said we need to improve in this area
- Helpful friendly staff; 56% said we are helpful and friendly
- Better communication, improved and timely communication that is respectful to foster parents as partners in caring for and supporting safety, permanency and well-being for our children
- You provided us with nearly 500 ideas for improving our service to you, many of them are things we can do immediately
In response to the information you provided, here are some of the measures we are working to put into action:
- We have initiated some internal measures for responding more quickly to families and to be more available.
- We are working on modifying the current Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet to provide you quick reliable answers, https://okfosters.org/introduction/faq/
- We are establishing additional expectations for workers in regard to communication very soon after placement of a new child or children into your home. Our intent is to provide additional support to foster families as they and the children placed are adjusting, and to ensure all needed services and supports are put in place as soon as possible.
- We are establishing additional expectations for foster care and adoption staff to have monthly contact with all foster and adoptive families, rather than quarterly, in an effort to provide additional support for the family.
- We have been working to improve services and information available through the Foster Care and Adoption Support Center, including updating the website, adding additional training components, and staff availability to answer questions or help you connect with someone who can assist with any problems or questions you may have. This is also an avenue for families to give suggestions to DHS for improved services to children and families. More information can be found at http://okfosters.org
- We have asked staff to contact their foster and adoptive families to get updated email addresses, so that we can begin sending information out more often and timely, when there are activities going on that will likely impact your family, or if there are special events we want you to be aware of.
- Finally, we are in the process of modifying the current structure of the foster care and adoption programs, in an effort to streamline the process for families. As you may have heard, the majority of our adoptions, occur through the child’s kinship or foster family, therefore we want to streamline the process for families, so that you do not have to repeat processes or activities in order to move from one program to the other. We will continue to send information out about this new structure as we are implementing the changes. Be watching for updates.
We want to do better in the areas you identified and will continue to work on additional measures to institute. Thank you again for participating and for partnering with DHS in caring for children.