Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore) was one of seven legislators that were honored with the Protector of Children Award by the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy Thursday.

Ownbey was part of a working group of four lawmakers to develop reforms to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to help children in the state's child welfare system. As a result of the group's findings, key reforms have been instituted for DHS, one of which went before the citizens of Oklahoma, which passed allowing the restructuring of the agency.

"I was not expecting it," Ownbey said of the award. "It is not about recognition, it is about what we are attempting to do. The validation of the job we did was what the voters decided. The DHS ship is going in the right direction, but we are not done."

— For more of this article, read Friday's print edition of The Ardmoreite.