Honoring 100 for the 100th: Howard Hendrick
For more than 25 years, Howard Hendrick served as an advocate for and an administrator of services for disadvantaged Oklahomans. For twelve years, he served as a member of the Oklahoma State Senate on the Health and Human Services Committee. In June, 1998, he resigned from the Senate and was selected as Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, a position he held until his retirement in March, 2012. During his nearly 14 years as Director, he also served as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Human Services for Republican Governor Frank Keating and for eight years served as Cabinet Secretary for Human Services for Democratic Governor Brad Henry. He was also elected President of the board of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) and served on the Executive Committee of the National Children’s Alliance.
Under his leadership, the Department’s performance was exceptional. Child support collections tripled from less than $100 million per year to more than $300 million per year. A robust electronic online payment and e-card distribution of child support payments supplemented by an electronic filing system for use by an expedited Administrative Court system with statewide administrative law judges accelerated payments from non-custodial parents to custodial parents. During his nearly 14-year tenure, more than 16,000 children were adopted out of foster care through the Swift Adoption initiative, the highest per capita adoption rate of any state during the first decade of the century. Excitingly, even more children were reunited with their parents. Oklahoma led the Nation in Child Care Licensing standards and compliance according to the National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies. The Nation’s first eChild Care system was deployed permitting parents needing subsidized child care to “swipe” an attendance card to create a fraud proof reimbursement system for providers which paid them weekly on a tiered reimbursement method based on a Quality Rating System. For seniors, the state transformed its long-term care delivery practices from a primary dependence on nursing home care for Medicaid eligible seniors to primary dependence on home and community based Medicaid services, saving millions of dollars and improving the “stay at home” lifestyle desired by seniors. Community based services were also expanded for the intellectually disabled while reducing dependence on facility based care. Five times, the regional office of USDA selected Oklahoma as the top performing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps) in the Southwest region for accuracy and timely delivery of food assistance. These food assistance services were particularly significant after the recession of 2001 which followed the bombing of the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the Great Recession of 2008 which followed the global banking collapse which led to swelling numbers of unemployed Oklahomans while state budget and staff freezes limited the resources to meet the need.
In addition to being selected for membership into the University of Oklahoma School of Social Work Hall of Fame, the American Public Human Services Association granted him their highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award in the year of his retirement, 2012.
Mr. Hendrick’s undergraduate degree is from Southern Nazarene University and he has two degrees from the University of Oklahoma, a M.B.A. and a J.D. He has served on the University of Oklahoma’s Board of Visitors for both the School of Accounting and the School of Social Work and is an emeritus member of the School of Social Work Board of Visitors.
Posted on Mon, August 7, 2017
by Laura Kent filed under