• DHS foster child deported within months of aging out of system

    BY GINNIE GRAHAM, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Sep 28, 2015

    Foster mother Tylisha Oliver drove pregnant, 18-year-old Gabriella Portillo to a meeting asked by her foster daughter’s parole officer. She had a feeling something wasn’t right because it was an unusual request. But meeting all the sentence stipulations on a youthful offender guilty plea was part of getting Portillo on the right track. After surviving being forced into El Salvador’s sex trade as a child and spending five years in Oklahoma’s foster care, the girl finally seemed ready to accept help. “When we got there, we were surrounded by seven armed federal agents, and then they had handcuffs on her,” Oliver recalls. “It was a calm scene, though. They expected her to be angry and aggressive. She wasn’t. She’s pregnant, she’s tired and she’s 18. They think she was a bigger threat than what she is.”

  • Oklahoma DHS shelter director retires rather than fight termination over handcuffing of children

    BY NOLAN CLAY Staff Writer nclay@oklahoman.com | Updated: Sat, Aug 29, 2015

    Rebecca L. Price resigned by letter Tuesday. She had worked for DHS since 1984 and been director of the Pauline E. Mayer Shelter since May 2010. DHS officials suspended Price with pay on April 17 and replaced two off-duty, armed law enforcement officers who had handcuffed children.

  • Jari Askins tries to employ foster care reform plan

    By TIM TALLEY Associated Press | Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    Former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jari Askins may be facing her toughest challenge: implementing a court-ordered plan to improve the state's foster care system to better protect children in Oklahoma's child welfare system.

  • Oklahoma City police investigate pregnant fired DHS shelter worker

    BY NOLAN CLAY Staff Writer nclay@oklahoman.com | Updated: Mon, Jul 27, 2015

    Suzi Jane Neel, 30, of Moore, who is pregnant with twins, was fired by Oklahoma Department of Human Services in November and is now being investigated by Oklahoma City police on a possible illegal relationship with a teenage boy.

  • Reports on death of handicapped boy, 17, prompts investigation into parents

    BY JENNIFER PALMER Staff Writer jpalmer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Mon, Jun 22, 2015

    The Department of Human Services received nearly a dozen reports of potential child neglect in the years preceding the death of a 17-year-old boy with developmental disabilities in rural Woods County. Pneumonia and infected bed sores contributed to the death of 17-year-old Kalib Smart on April 28, 2014, the Oklahoma state medical examiner found.

  • Tulsa mother of 12 charged with child neglect after 33 DHS referrals and investigations

    By ARIANNA PICKARD - Tulsa World | Updated: Tue, Jun 9, 2015

    A Tulsa woman with at least 33 prior DHS referrals and investigations has been arrested on allegations that she neglected her children and provided them with inadequate shelter. She and four of her children were found living in a home with no running water; feces and trash covering the floor; no sleeping area; and methamphetamine buried in the backyard, court documents allege. Kodi Faircloth, 38, was arrested Thursday after officers searched her house at 1603 N. Columbia Ave. and found trash littered feet-deep in some areas and piles of what appeared to be human fecal matter in the bathroom and in a corner of a room, according to an affidavit for a search warrant of the residence. Read the full story at

  • Plaintiffs in DHS foster-care lawsuit argue for court intervention now

    BY GINNIE GRAHAM - Tulsa World | Updated: Fri, Jun 5, 2015

    Adequate progress is not being made in improving Oklahoma’s foster-care system to reach the goals in the Pinnacle Plan agreement, so court intervention is needed to spur faster change, a recent letter claims. Plaintiffs in a federal class-action lawsuit wrote to the monitors of the improvement plan asking to invoke the “dispute resolution process mechanism,” which is an arbitration process. The three-member oversight panel has the power to issue remedial orders, which are enforced by the federal court, and has done so before. The Pinnacle Plan is the agreement to a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit group Children’s Rights seeking to reform the state’s foster-care system.