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DHS violated own policy

By Nolan Clay Modified: September 26, 2007 at 12:51 am •  Published: September 26, 2007
A state oversight agency has concluded the state Department of Human Services violated its own policies when it failed to close a Tulsa home day care months before a boy died after he was injured there.

The agency faulted DHS officials for not supporting a frustrated licensing worker who, a full year before the boy's death, sought to revoke the day care's license because of repeated problems there, including abuse.

The Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth questioned DHS "philosophy, procedures and practices.”

Joshua Minton, 2, died May 17. The day care owner, Vicki Chiles, is charged with first-degree murder. Police say she admitted putting tape over Joshua's mouth and binding his hands because he was whining at nap time

DHS workers had found repeated problems at the Noah's Ark Child Care Home dating to 2003, such as children being left alone in a van, the oversight agency found.

Also, an assistant caretaker had admitted spanking a child and lying about it, records show.

The agency said Chiles also was refusing to take corrective steps, like going to behavior classes and cutting back on her hours of operation. She once said, "Licensing could not tell her when to be open,” records show.

But a regional manager refused in early 2006 to consider revoking the day care's license, writing, "Not enough at this time,” the agency found.

The Commission on Children and Youth also found DHS should have ordered the immediate closure of Chiles' home after she admitted to DHS workers on April 13 that she had struck an 8-year-old boy with a fly swatter.

"DHS observed approximately eight one-half inch slash marks on the child's back and fading marks on both upper arms,” the agency noted.

The oversight agency also noted that DHS officials knew that Chiles had admitted "to implying violence at quiet time by sitting on the couch with the fly swatter and stating to the children, ‘It's quiet time.'”

The oversight agency found that DHS officials decided they would wait until Chiles was charged with child abuse before issuing an emergency closure order. DHS continuing coverage Oversight agency's report and DHS response

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