Oklahoma counties have history of child death problems

Records reveal that two to the 11 Oklahoma DHS workers and supervisors allegedly involved in her case have been disciplined by the agency within the last four years.
BY RANDY ELLIS, NOLAN CLAY AND ROBBY TRAMMELL Modified: November 5, 2011 at 12:40 am •  Published: November 6, 2011
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At the time of her suspension, she was cited for more than 20 areas of substandard performance. Those included falsifying documents in her permanency child placement caseload, lack of worker contacts with parents, being “not diligent at all” in searching for relatives with whom children could be placed, announcing child visits in advance and allowing parent-child unsupervised weekend visitation and trial reunifications without safety assessments of the homes.

In that April 12, 2010, disciplinary letter, DHS Area IV Director William Wilson Jr. ripped the performance of child welfare workers in Pottawatomie County, noting that even though that county was one of two focus counties within his 15-county jurisdiction that had received extra training, a review revealed “outcomes for children were extremely disappointing in most categories.”

“In fact, Pottawatomie is the first and only county in Area IV to have had scores of zero (on a scale of 100) in any category, much less several categories,” Wilson wrote.

Other findings

The county scored:

• 0 percent in substantially achieving the goal of providing permanency and stability for children in their living situations.

• 0 percent in substantially achieving the goal of preserving continuity of family relationships and connections for children.

• 0 percent in substantially achieving the goal of enhancing the capacity of families to provide for their children's needs.

• 67 percent in substantially achieving the top goal of protecting children from abuse and neglect.

• 33 percent in substantially achieving the goal of maintaining children in their home whenever possible and appropriate.

• 67 percent in substantially achieving the goal of providing children with appropriate services to meet educational needs.

• 50 percent in providing children with services to meet their physical and mental health needs.

Gloria Weiss was the other Pottawatomie County DHS child welfare worker named in the lawsuit who has been disciplined by the agency.

Records show Weiss was suspended without pay for five days in 2008 for misconduct that included unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, failure to follow DHS policy and discourteous treatment of clients, employees or members of the public.

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