• 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.

  • Judge rules in favor of Oklahoma Department of Human Services in Serenity Deal wrongful-death lawsuit

    By Nolan Clay, Staff Writer | Published: Mon, Jun 1, 2015

    Grandparents and mother of Serenity Deal sued the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and two fired child welfare workers after the 5-year-old girl was murdered by her father in Oklahoma City in 2011.

  • Abused, neglected children handcuffed at state-run shelter in Oklahoma City

    By Nolan Clay, Staff Writer | Updated: Tue, May 26, 2015

    Oklahoma DHS replaced two armed off-duty law enforcement officers at Pauline E. Mayer Shelter after getting complaint. Children also were threatened with pepper spray and stun weapons. Oversight agency told DHS director that shelter staff reported “that they believed they were powerless in intervening against the actions of the off-duty police officers in matters involving discipline and control of the residents.”

  • Child given wrong medicine at DHS shelter in OKC

    By Randy Ellis, Staff Writer | Updated: Tue, May 26, 2015

    A 6-year-old child was hospitalized Saturday after mistakenly being given another child’s medicine while at a state-operated shelter for abused and neglected children in Oklahoma City.

  • Oklahoma Child Death Review Board reports on leading causes of children's deaths

    BY JENNIFER PALMER, Staff Writer | Updated: Sun, May 3, 2015

    The leading causes of death among Oklahoma children are unsafe sleep practices and traffic fatalities—both preventable, according to the state Child Death Review Board.

  • Report: Oklahoma foster care plan seeing progress, but some areas falling behind

    BY GINNIE GRAHAM, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    Monitors of Oklahoma’s foster care improvement plan said the state Department of Human Services has made a “good faith effort” in some areas and has not made adequate progress in others, according to a report released Wednesday. The Pinnacle Plan is the settlement agreement that began implementation about three years ago in response to a federal class-action lawsuit. It sets out goals to reach by 2017 with targets of progress along the way overseen by a three-member monitoring panel. The monitors’ report found that areas not improving are the addition of new therapeutic foster homes, shelter use for children 6 and older, and finding permanent placements for children older than 13. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Oklahoma Supreme Court sets standards for DNR orders involving children in DHS care

    By Randy Ellis, Staff Writer | Published: Tue, Apr 21, 2015

    The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday established a firm standard on when a hospitalized child in state Department of Human Services care can be allowed to die. Justices decided a judge can authorize the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment only if there is clear and convincing evidence it is in the best interest of the child.

  • Grandfather of child abuse victim dies in prison in Lexington, Oklahoma

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Updated: Sat, Apr 18, 2015

    Don Luke, a former newspaper editor in McAlester, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the death of his grandson, Ryan Luke, 2. Luke, 74, died of cancer Thursday at the Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington.

  • Midwest City police find body of father accused in son's death

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Updated: Fri, Apr 17, 2015

    A Midwest City father charged in the death of his son, Quinten Wood, killed himself Monday, police said.

  • CARE Center CEO talks about child abuse

    By Jaclyn Cosgrove, Staff Writer | Updated: Fri, Apr 17, 2015

    Stacy McNeiland, CARE Center CEO, is trying to raise awareness about child abuse, which she says is an epidemic in Oklahoma County, affecting one in three girls, and one in five boys.

  • Governor names Jari Askins special adviser on child welfare and Pinnacle Plan Implementation

    By Rick M. Green, Staff Writer | Updated: Thu, Apr 2, 2015

    Former Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Jari Askins was named Thursday as special adviser to the governor on child welfare and Pinnacle Plan implementation.

  • DHS admits mistakes found after foster mom murdered 2 -year-old girl placed in her care

    By Nolan Clay, Staff Writer | Updated: Mon, Mar 16, 2015

    A DHS supervisor failed to fully investigate the background of a Tahlequah woman before approving her as a foster mother. A little more than three months later, the foster mother murdered a 2-year-old girl placed in her care. DHS workers also twice failed to call the DHS child abuse and neglect hotline after the girl was hurt in the foster home.