DHS forced to cut $33 million from budget, programs and jobs at risk

Posted at 5:00 PM, May 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-31 08:07:36-04

TULSA -- The Department of Human Services is one of 51 state agencies that will be forced to make budget cuts for the upcoming fiscal year.

Gov. Mary Fallin was presented with a $6.8 billion budget bill on the last day of the legislative session. She called the budget “not ideal.”

Sheree Powell, the DHS communications director, said they are grateful for the money did they receive, but they will still come up $33 million short of their current operating costs.

DHS has compiled a list of 12 programs at risk of facing funding cuts, including: the Older Americans Act Services, Child Care Licensing and Subsidy, State Plan Personal Care Services, ADvantage Waiver Program, Smart Start Oklahoma, Adult Day Services, In-home Support Waivers, State Funded Community Services, TANF and Child Welfare Services.

"There is nowhere you can cut in DHS that doesn't hurt someone,” Powell said. “This is all we do. We serve vulnerable Oklahomans. When you have to look at reducing those services, unfortunately these are the only options we have."

Powell said they will likely close several county offices as well. She said they continue to look within the department to make cuts before cutting funding to programs.

Over the last two years, Powell said they have cut more than 1,200 positions within DHS across the state.

“But now we are at the point where that is the only place we have let to make substantial cuts is within programs and services," Powell said.

The Department will announce in the upcoming weeks exactly which programs will see cuts and how exactly they will be affected.

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