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DHS officially closes Laura Dester Children's Center in Tulsa

Posted: 1:41 PM, Jun 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-27 18:45:43Z

TULSA -- The Laura Dester Children's Center in Tulsa was officially closed Wednesday by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

The closure ended the facility's use as an emergency shelter for children being brought into the foster care system.

Laura Dester was the last state-run shelter and was used as a last resort for children who could not immediately be placed in foster homes or other treatment facilities.

“We are so grateful to the many shelter staff and our placement team who worked tirelessly to care for these children and who put so much effort into finding safe, needs-based placements for each child,” said DHS Director Ed Lake. “They put the needs of the children before their own, caring for the children and staying until the very last child was moved.  We also appreciate all of our private providers and partners for helping us along this journey to place the children.”

DHS received a letter on March 5 from monitors overseeing the agency to move all children out of Laura Dester by June 30. Of the 42 children who were at Laura Dester, two are now in trial reunification with their families, 13 were moved into foster homes, 13 were moved to group homes, five were sent to specialized treatment facilities and three to youth services shelters.  

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