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DHS child welfare specialist fired for gross neglect in Oklahoma

Rachel Qualls,24, of Oklahoma City, was charged March 14 with neglect of duty in the death of a special-needs teenager.
by Nolan Clay Published: April 1, 2014

DHS child welfare specialist Rachel Qualls was fired Monday after the agency concluded she failed to fully investigate allegations a special-needs child was being neglected.

Quinten Wood died Jan. 4, 2013, less than a month after his sister first called DHS for help.

The boy, who was 15, died from acute pneumonia.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services announced in February it had initiated steps to fire Qualls and her latest supervisor.

Qualls contended she had been overwhelmed by her caseload, her discharge papers show. DHS hired her in October 2011.

The supervisor, Paul Kim Myers, remains on paid leave.

Prosecutors in March charged Qualls, 24, of Oklahoma City, with a misdemeanor, willful neglect to perform a duty.

Prosecutors charged Myers, 57, of Edmond, with the same misdemeanor, willful neglect to perform a duty. They also charged Myers with a felony, unlawful use of a computer.

In her discharge papers, DHS officials acknowledged Qualls did observe Quinten at school on Dec. 19, 2012, after being assigned to investigate allegations he was neglected by his father.

She also talked to Quinten’s teacher, a school nurse and a younger brother at school.

However, she never contacted the father and failed to go inside the family’s Oklahoma City home, according to the discharge papers. She drove by the trailer house but never got out of the car.

She also failed to get any of the boy’s medical records, contact his doctor or seek out a medical expert to determine if his medical needs were being met, the records show.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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