Recent Articles from NewsOK and The Oklahoman

  • Do you know your day care?

    hiccups | Updated: Fri, Jun 14, 2013

    My son is in the midst of a transition right now.  He is getting ready to start a new day care and after talking to another provider, I learned that there is much information available about the place my son will be cared for.

  • Looking for child care?

    hiccups | Published: Thu, Mar 5, 2009

    Recently I have had to search for a new day care center because the one I’ve had my toddler in is set to close the beginning of July.  Since I didn’t really have to search when I placed him there, I was trying to figure out the best way to approach finding a new center.

  • Rally organizers push for change in Oklahoma child welfare system

    RANDY ELLIS | Updated: Wed, Dec 1, 2010

    A group pushing to overhaul Oklahoma’s child welfare system will host its second rally in less than two weeks today at the Oklahoma County Juvenile Justice Center. The rally will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the center, 5905 N Classen Blvd. The rally is sponsored by the Oklahoma Family...

  • Oklahoma agency funding drops but demand stays up

    BY JULIE BISBEE | Updated: Sat, Dec 26, 2009

    A decrease in state revenue collections means state agencies will have to meet increasing needs for services with fewer funds. Next session, as lawmakers work to draft a budget for the 2011 fiscal year that begins July 1, they will have an estimated $5.29 billion to divvy up. The starting point...

  • Former DHS employee is sentenced in Tulsa

    BY BILL BRAUN - Tulsa World | Updated: Tue, Dec 22, 2009

    TULSA — A former Department of Human Services employee received a three-year suspended sentence Monday for financially exploiting two vulnerable adults. Debra Roberts, 51, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to two felony exploitation counts in Tulsa County District Court. Roberts had no deal with...

  • Oklahoma nonprofit group to end foster care

    BY DARLA SLIPKE | Updated: Sat, Dec 12, 2009

    Sunbeam Family Services is working to make the transition as smooth as possible for 19 children and 16 families after directors announced they will close the agency’s therapeutic foster care program after 25 years of service. Sunbeam, a local nonprofit agency that provides a variety of...

  • DHS to pass along $25 fee for Oklahoma child support collection

    BY BARBARA HOBEROCK - Tulsa World | Updated: Thu, Dec 10, 2009

    About 44,000 people in Oklahoma soon will see their state-collected child support income drop by $25 each year. The Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 requires the payment of $25 per qualifying child support case each year. The state Department of Human Services Division of Child Support...

  • Adoptive parents, Oklahoma's DHS at odds

    BY GINNIE GRAHAM - Tulsa World | Updated: Sun, Dec 6, 2009

    TULSA — The scrapbook pages show a smiling 8-year-old boy — on his first day of school, as he opens Christmas gifts, hanging around with new friends. Melissa Wescott’s hand-written messages next to the photos shower affection on her "little man” and "baby.”...

  • Sharing amid shortfall in Edmond

    BY CARLA HINTON | Updated: Fri, Dec 4, 2009

    EDMOND — Youths who live at Boys Ranch Town love to offer their annual Living Christmas Pageant for the community. Brent Thackerson, administrator for the faith-based boys home, said the boys like to see all the people who come to the drive-through pageant, continuing tonight and Sunday,...

  • Heating help is available in Oklahoma

    BY BRIAN SARGENT | Updated: Fri, Dec 4, 2009

    Help with home heating costs is available through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program administered by the state Department of Human Services. The application period began Tuesday and will end when all money has been dispersed. Federal funding for the program in Oklahoma is $18...

  • DHS to cut child-welfare workers in Oklahoma

    By BARBARA HOBEROCK - Tulsa World | Updated: Wed, Dec 2, 2009

    The Department of Human Services is decreasing the number of child welfare workers it employs, the Commission for Human Services was told Tuesday. In May, the Department of Human Services employed 1,095 child-welfare workers, a figure that declined to 1,056 in October. Plans call for...

  • Oklahoma City father was nervous with baby, DHS report says

    BY SHEILA STOGSDILL | Updated: Mon, Nov 23, 2009

    Two siblings whose 6-month-old sister died from shaken baby syndrome told Department of Human Services investigators the baby’s father had been learning how to hold her. Willis Joey Lambert Jr., 37, and Latrice Sharron Russell, 34, are charged with first-degree murder in connection with the...

  • Panel to review Oklahoma Department of Human Services' policy

    BY MICHAEL MCNUTT | Updated: Mon, Nov 23, 2009

    The adoption policies of DHS need further review, the co-chairman of a legislative task force on adoption said Monday. Especially troubling is the dilemma adoptive parents face when the child they adopt develops mental or violent problems, and they are told they must keep the child although the...

  • Caseworkers’ jobs pose dangers

    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Published: Sun, Nov 22, 2009

    LANSING, Mich. — One frustrated client hurled a piece of concrete through the window of a welfare agency. Another threw her car keys at a welfare worker before being escorted away. At one point, a woman on public assistance even took a swing at a worker. As Michigan struggles with the...

  • Critic defends class-action status in Oklahoma Department of Human Services lawsuit

    BY ROBERT BOCZKIEWICZ | Updated: Fri, Nov 20, 2009

    DENVER — A critic of Oklahoma’s foster child care system contends its reform will not be possible if an appeals court grants the state’s request to decertify a class-action lawsuit against top child welfare officials. "You can’t get system-wide relief (unless a...

  • Oklahoma Briefs

    Updated: Thu, Nov 19, 2009

    Norman March snows set record The state Climate Extremes Committee recently declared that 26 inches of snow recorded by National Weather Service observing sites at Woodward and Freedom during the March 27-28 blizzard sets a state record for a 24-hour snowfall. The storm system contained heavy...

  • Oklahoma City middle school’s students collect food items for DHS

    BY MARY LEAVER | Updated: Wed, Nov 18, 2009

    Students at Oklahoma City’s Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School completed their second annual canned food drive for the state Department of Human Services. The students increased their donation by nearly 1,000 food items. When the school’s food drive concluded Nov. 12, the students...

  • DHS offers buyouts to employees in Enid and Pauls Valley to cut budget

    By The Associated Press | Updated: Wed, Nov 18, 2009

    ENID, Okla. (AP) — The state Department of Human Services is offering voluntary buyouts to some employees at two facilities in an effort to balance its budget. DHS is offering the buyouts to cut 70 positions at the Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid and to cut 92 positions at the...

  • DHS funding cuts hurt Oklahoma's economy, official says

    BY BARBARA HOBEROCK - Tulsa World | Updated: Fri, Nov 13, 2009

    A legislative panel was told Thursday that further cuts to the Department of Human Services could result in a downward spiral to the state’s economy. "If material cuts continue to have to be made, the accelerating effect on the overall economy should not be underestimated,” DHS...

  • Oklahoma kids in DHS care face dangers, report finds

    BY RANDY ELLIS | Updated: Thu, Nov 12, 2009

    TULSA — Treatment of children in Oklahoma’s child welfare system has been "incomprehensible, unimaginable, outrageous and immoral,” a child welfare expert stated Wednesday in a report filed in Tulsa federal court. Child welfare consultant Peg McCartt Hess wrote that she...

  • Groups debate reasons Edmond nutrition site was closed

    BY JOHN A. WILLIAMS | Updated: Thu, Nov 12, 2009

    EDMOND — As Edmond officials search for ways to bring back a senior nutrition meal program, the reason why the program was cut is being debated. Recently the state Department of Human Services cut $7.4 million earmarked for some senior nutrition programs to account for a 5 percent cut in...

  • Report: Treatment of kids in DHS care 'immoral'

    By The Associated Press | Updated: Wed, Nov 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...

  • Oklahoma lawmaker criticizes DHS raises

    By Michael McNutt Capitol Bureau | Updated: Thu, Nov 5, 2009

    A legislator criticized the state agency that cut funding for some of the senior nutrition programs for giving raises to top administrators. But a spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services said the raises were adjusted the last 18 months for all employees in the sprawling agency. The...

  • Q&A with Adele Jack

    Updated: Thu, Nov 5, 2009

    DHS begins using electric vehicle in an effort to reduce energy use Q: The Department of Human Services just received an electric car. Can you tell me about the vehicle and how it was obtained? A: The electric car was manufactured by E-ride Industries and is a 4 passenger vehicle provided to us...

  • Senior meals supporters crowd Oklahoma's Capitol

    BY MICHAEL MCNUTT | Updated: Thu, Nov 5, 2009

    Concerned that thousands of older Oklahomans are going without a meal, about 400 showed up Wednesday at the state Capitol to urge state leaders to restore $7.4 million in funding cuts to senior nutrition programs. Marjorie Lyons, volunteer state president of AARP Oklahoma, said many seniors who...

  • Lawmakers seek funding answers for Oklahoma seniors

    BY MICHAEL MCNUTT | Updated: Wed, Nov 4, 2009

    On the eve of a state Capitol rally expected to attract more than 100 older Oklahomans, legislators scurried Tuesday to suggest ways to restore cuts to some senior nutrition programs. Two Democratic state senators were camping out overnight in chilly weather on the state Capitol grounds to show...

  • Tulsa mom’s efforts to collect support pay off for both of her children

    BY GINNIE GRAHAM - Tulsa World | Updated: Wed, Nov 4, 2009

    When the back child support owed to her reached about $17,000, Julie Koble wanted something to be done. She has a nice job and was able to handle the basic needs of her two sons from her first marriage. But her academically and musically talented teenage sons participate in activities that had...

  • Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry sees crisis as revenue declines

    BY MICHAEL MCNUTT | Updated: Tue, Nov 3, 2009

    Plans to wait until legislators return to appropriate money to state agencies and programs reeling from recent 5 percent monthly budget cuts are in jeopardy if revenue collections continue to come in 20 percent or more below estimates, Gov. Brad Henry said Monday. Most state agencies and...

  • Oklahoma senior program cutbacks decried

    BY MICHAEL MCNUTT | Updated: Mon, Nov 2, 2009

    Flanked by more than 30 older Oklahomans, leaders with the Oklahoma County Democratic Party called on state leaders Thursday to restore money for Oklahoma’s senior nutrition programs. "If there’s any group that needs to be protected from budget cuts, it would be seniors who need...

  • Praying for coats, miracles

    BY CARLA HINTON | Updated: Fri, Oct 30, 2009

    Diane McDaniel has always believed in the power of prayer, so when she prayed for winter coats for some special girls, she expected results. She didn’t know how the Lord would do it, but she believed in miracles. The miracle showed up in the form of a group of women from Henderson Hills...

  • Rally planned to protest $7.4M senior nutrition cuts in Oklahoma

    BY MICHAEL MCNUTT | Updated: Wed, Oct 28, 2009

    Older Oklahomans plan to rally next week at the state Capitol to get money restored to Oklahoma’s senior nutrition programs. The state Department of Human Services cut $7.4 million that pays for the program because of declining state revenue. The funding cuts take effect Sunday. As a...

  • Stimulus funds sought for Oklahoma's seniors

    BY MICHAEL MCNUTT | Updated: Fri, Oct 23, 2009

    A state senator says Gov. Brad Henry should use some of the discretionary funds he received as part of the federal stimulus dollars to replace money cut from Oklahoma’s senior nutrition program. However, legislators and the governor have already agreed to spend that money, a...

  • Oklahoma has 7th worst child death rate

    BY RANDY ELLIS | Updated: Wed, Oct 21, 2009

    Oklahoma had the seventh worst child death rate from abuse and neglect in the nation during 2007, a setback from the previous year. Thirty-one Oklahoma children died from abuse and neglect in 2007, leaving the state with a death rate of 3.48 per 100,000 children, according to a report by...

  • Part of Oklahoma power bill to be gone with the wind

    BY JAY F. MARKS | Updated: Tue, Oct 13, 2009

    Oklahoma will be the first state in the country to draw power from the wind for its Governor’s Mansion when a donated turbine is installed on the grounds in the coming weeks. Norman-based Bergey Windpower Co. offered the 10-kilowatt turbine about a year ago, owner Mike Bergey said, when...

  • Four young children found in dangerous home in Tulsa

    By SHANNON MUCHMORE - Tulsa World | Updated: Sat, Oct 10, 2009

    Four children, all 10 or younger, have been placed in state care after they were found in a home with trash, human blood and uncapped needles easily accessible. Their mother, Melodie Brooke Larson, 30, was arrested at about 10 p.m. Friday after Tulsa Police officers served a search warrant at...

  • Oklahoma's food stamp growth called unprecedented

    BY BARBARA HOBEROCK - Tulsa World | Updated: Sat, Oct 10, 2009

    About 15 percent of all Oklahomans and more than 25 percent of children received food stamps in September, according to information released Friday. The Department of Human Services reported that 11,000 people were added to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in September, bringing the...

  • Fewer children placed in Oklahoma shelters

    BY JULIE BISBEE | Updated: Wed, Oct 7, 2009

    The number of children who are spending more than 24 hours in Department of Human Services shelterscontinues to decrease as caseworkers and law enforcement work together when removing children from their homes. In September, the combined shelter population in Tulsa and Oklahoma City was lower...

  • Ex-DHS worker faces December sentencing

    BY BILL BRAUN - Tulsa World | Updated: Tue, Oct 6, 2009

    A former Department of Human Services employee pleaded guilty Monday to two Tulsa County felony charges of financially exploiting vulnerable adults. Debra Roberts, 51, is to be sentenced Dec. 21. She waived her right to a trial, and she has no agreement with prosecutors to govern her punishment....

  • Former DHS employee pleads guilty in Tulsa

    By BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer - Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Oct 5, 2009

    A former Department of Human Services employee pleaded guilty Monday to two Tulsa County felony charges of financially exploiting vulnerable adults. Debra Roberts, 51, is set to be sentenced Dec. 21. She waived her right to a jury trial, and has no agreement with prosecutors to govern...

  • Meals for Oklahoma seniors facing reductions

    BY BARBARA HOBEROCK - Tulsa World | Updated: Mon, Oct 5, 2009

    The Commission for Human Services last week shaved $14.6 million off its budget in response to declining state revenue. All state agencies have been instructed to cut their budgets. The agency’s Aging Services Division, which includes the senior nutrition program, took the largest hit at...

  • Oklahoma lawmaker calls for session to address DHS budget cuts

    Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2009

    LAWMAKER CALLS FOR SESSION TO ADDRESS DHS BUDGET CUTS Sen. Kenneth Corn wants a special session to address $7 million in budget cuts to the Department of Human Services. The cut will shut down senior nutrition centers statewide, said Corn, D-Poteau. State Department of Human Services officials...

  • Oklahoma City police say pair admitted beating boy, 14

    BY NOLAN CLAY | Updated: Wed, Sep 30, 2009

    An Oklahoma City woman and a friend confessed to beating her son after the 14-year-old boy reported he’d been abused and locked in a closet repeatedly over a four-year period, police reported. LaRhonda M. McCall, 37, and Steve V. Hamilton, 38, were arrested Saturday on child abuse and child...

  • Henry Bellmon timeline | Updated: Tue, Sep 29, 2009

    Bellmon timeline Sept. 3, 1921: Born on a farm near Tonkawa 1942: Graduates from Oklahoma State University 1942-46: Serves in U.S. Marine Corps 1946-48: Serves in state House of Representatives 1960: Becomes state Republican Party chairman 1962: Wins election as Oklahoma's first Republican...

  • Public aid need grows in Oklahoma, census finds

    BY VALLERY BROWN AND PAUL MONIES | Updated: Tue, Sep 29, 2009

    Nearly one in four Oklahoma families with children younger than 18 were on some type of public assistance in 2008, according to newly released census estimates. Public assistance includes food stamps and supplemental Social Security income. Food stamp use is at an all-time high in the state. The...

  • Oklahoma City boy’s abuse claims prompt two arrests


    The 14-year-old boy was filthy and smelled bad. His shorts, held in place by a tightly cinched belt, sagged on his scrawny frame, and his black hair was unwashed. Scars laced across his neck and arms. He wore no shoes or socks and said he hadn’t eaten in about a week. And one more thing, he...

  • Oklahoma child welfare law pleases author

    BY JULIE BISBEE | Updated: Wed, Sep 23, 2009

    The author of a child welfare reform bill signed into law last legislative session says he’s pleased with how quickly provisions of the bill have been acted upon and the improvements they have made to children’s lives. Rep. Ron Peters, R-Tulsa, and other lawmakers met Tuesday with...

  • Oklahoma mothers rally behind owner of Oklahoma City shut down by DHS

    BY RANDY ELLIS | Updated: Fri, Sep 18, 2009

    Tuesday’s Department of Human Services’ emergency closure of Vickie Thompson’s northwest Oklahoma City home-based day care has outraged several parents, many of whom claim their children were traumatized by the way DHS employees and police officers handled the situation....

  • Oklahoma City day care ordered to close

    BY RANDY ELLIS | Updated: Thu, Sep 17, 2009

    The Oklahoma Department of Human Services on Tuesday issued an emergency order closing a northwest Oklahoma City home day care after a 12-year-old child was found sitting alone in the back seat of a car in a dark garage. Vickie Thompson’s family child care home at 10100 Donna Court also was...

  • Oklahoma Briefs: 2-year-old found in pool dies at an Oklahoma City hospital

    Updated: Tue, Sep 15, 2009

    OKLAHOMA CITY 2-year-old found in pool dies at an Oklahoma City hospital An Oklahoma City toddler found in a swimming pool Saturday died Monday afternoon at OU Medical Center. Javen Teague, 2, wasn’t breathing when he was discovered in a pool at his foster parents’ home near Hefner...

  • Capitol Briefs: USDA praises Oklahoma efforts

    Updated: Mon, Sep 14, 2009

    USDA praises Oklahoma efforts The USDA Food and Nutrition Service will honor state Department of Human Services Director Howard Hendrick today. Hendrick and his agency are being recognized for achievements in improving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food...

Oklahoman Editorials

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DHS Investigative Team

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, exposed shysters and resulted in reforms in such areas as day care oversight and workers' compensation court. He is a proud father and longtime fan of University of Oklahoma football. His wedding in 2001 was on the 50-yard line of OU's football field.

Randy Ellis

Investigative Reporter

For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two college presidents being sentenced to prison and a former chancellor being forced to resign. He has written about abuses of Oklahoma's workers' compensation system, corruption in the state's municipal bond industry, bid-rigging by county officials, self-dealing by state housing officials, misconduct involving state legislators and a variety of other topics. Ellis has won more than 80 state, regional and national awards for journalistic excellence. Prior to joining The Oklahoman in 1982, Ellis worked at Arkansas newspapers. He is a 1977 graduate of Kansas State University.

The Oklahoman's Watchdog team is a dedicated group of journalists here to expose corruption in Oklahoma. If you have any information about possible fraud, waste or abuse click on the
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(405) 475-3322 and let us know.