New Senate Bill to help OSBI investigate child abuse - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

New Senate Bill to help OSBI investigate child abuse

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OKLAHOMA -- The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says they're having a hard time keeping up with the number of child abuse cases in the state.

Jessica Brown with OSBI tells KTEN a new Senate Bill could not only help local law enforcement investigate these abuse cases, but assist with the prosecution as well.

"Child abuse is everybody's business,” said Betty Colclazier, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), “everybody's business is child abuse."

Colclazier has worked with CASA of Bryan County for the past 26 years.

"I've seen that we have less investigators and more to investigate,” she said, “and we're seen more children in the system than ever before."

Senate Bill 639 would grant the OSBI the necessary funds to focus more on child abuse cases.

"We need to have more attention to it,” she said, “and our investigators can do that. So we desperately, we desperately need more money for that."

The bill would allow the OSBI to hire more investigators for these types of cases and provide them with the necessary tools.

"Right now we only have two agents who serve within the child abuse response team,” said Brown, “this would give us six more. Those six.. or actually eight would be spanned across the state allowing them to help local law enforcement with any child abuse case."

Colclazier tells KTEN the lack of OSBI involvement leaves local workers with the Department of Human Services to investigate cases without the proper training.

"We've got DHS workers that are doing the work of their cases,” said Colclazier, “and then are also out there investigating and they shouldn’t have to do that. Their attention should be to what they're trained to do."

And while she says DHS workers are doing all that they can, it isn’t enough.

"We need to have the best of the best out there doing that," she said.

Senate Bill 639 has been two years in the making. It passed through the House and Senate unopposed and now waits on the Governor's approval.