Report: Treatment of kids in DHS care 'immoral'

By The Associated Press Modified: November 11, 2009 at 1:58 pm •  Published: November 11, 2009

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A child welfare expert says five foster children in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services were scalded in bath water, sexually molested, beaten with tree switches and belts and hit in the mouth — a pattern of abuse the expert called "outrageous and immoral."

The 121-page report by independent consultant Peg McCartt Hess was filed Wednesday afternoon in Tulsa federal court as part of a 2008 class-action lawsuit that accuses DHS of mistreating its foster children.

For her report, Hess reviewed case files for five of the nine children named as plaintiffs in the suit against Oklahoma by Children's Rights, a New York-based child advocacy group.

She says the abuse and neglect the children suffered while in DHS custody was "wholly preventable."