Court-appointed special advocates will be submitted to Department of Human Services (DHS) child welfare records searches this fall under legislation recently signed into law. Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, is the author of Senate Bill 722.
“Being that these advocates are working with vulnerable children, it’s imperative that we ensure they are trustworthy and have no abuse or neglect complaints against them. These children have already been through too much pain and heartache. This program makes sure they get the assistance they need so they don’t fall through the cracks of the legal and social service systems,” Pemberton said. “I want to thank CASA for bringing forth this important bill to help better protect Oklahoma’s youth and the legislature and Governor Stitt for their quick consideration and support.”
Currently, criminal history searches are conducted by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) to see if advocates have any criminal convictions.
Local programs may also require other background checks under the Oklahoma Court-Appointed Special Advocate Association state standards.
The DHS background checks will be conducted through the child abuse and neglect information system.
Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa, was the principal House author. The CASA request bill will go into effect November 1, 2019.