Pinnacle Plan

The Pinnacle Plan was developed and implemented by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to reform the state’s child welfare system. The plan, announced in July 2012,  emerged out of a settlement agreement reached in a federal class action lawsuit (D.G. v. Yarbrough) challenging the state’s treatment of children in foster care. The system was faulted for allowing abuse of children in its care, placing children in overcrowded and understaffed emergency shelters, and failing to provide secure and long-term placements, among other concerns.

Under the settlement agreement, a team of three independent experts, known as the “co-neutrals,” were granted formal authority to approve the agency’s plan and monitor its implementation. The approved Pinnacle Plan laid out “a five-year roadmap of significant commitments.” The Pinnacle Plan committed DHS to meet measurable improvements in five major areas: foster care safety, resource homes, worker contacts, shelter use, and worker caseload. Because the state did not meet the terms of the settlement agreement within five years, its duration was extended indefinitely.

In March 2023, the co-neutrals determined that “for a two-year continuous period, including this six-month report period, DHS has made good faith efforts to achieve substantial and sustained progress toward the Target Outcomes for each of the 23 measures.” This determination terminated DHS responsibilities and obligations for monitoring these outcomes under the Plan.  However, DHS expressed its commitment to continued public reporting of its performance on child welfare measures and outcomes.