Some Situations Warrant a Call to OKDHS
Video Transcribed: This is Keith Flinn, the Tulsa Fathers Rights Attorney, joined here with Oklahoma Fathers Rights Attorney Brian Jackson. We are the Tulsa Father’s Rights team here in Tulsa County, Oklahoma.
Now, today, we’re going to talk to you a little bit about when you need to file with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Child Welfare Services. Nobody wants to do it. It sucks, but sometimes we got to do it. It’s actually mandated by law. It’s required of you. Let’s talk about a few examples of opportunities, well, not opportunities, times when it would be required for you to do something like that. Brian?
Well, as Keith mentioned, you do have a legal duty under Oklahoma law to report suspected child neglect or child abuse, some examples of things that you most surely should report, let’s say you go to custody exchange and mom shows up in her car and she’s drunk or high, you have to report that.
If you see any mysterious unexplained injuries on your child, and we’re talking about serious bruising cuts, burns, and any evidence that the child might have been struck or unreasonably disciplined, you have to report that. With older kids, if they report any kind of an incident of physical violence threats, they tell you they’re afraid to go there, you need to report that.
And just as a clarification, if your child tells you a story about something that happened at mom’s house, either with mom or mom’s boyfriend, it’s not for you to ascertain whether or not your child was telling the truth, your position should be that this is a serious allegation, it should be handled seriously, and take it to the appropriate authorities, let them figure out whether or not there’s any truth to it because that way your interest in your child is protected and the social worker or the state can’t come along later and say you failed to protect.
The rule of thumb is to assume it’s bad, isn’t that right?
Yes. Another example is if you see evidence of extreme neglect, the child comes back dirty, the child comes back and they have bites all over their body from insects-
Ribs showing, they’re hungry constantly, really extremely bad breath, I know that sounds funny, but I’ve actually seen judges take children away from parents because they don’t take care of the dental health and they will treat that as an emergency.
Another one to consider and I think a lot of parents probably don’t think about this is if your child is engaging in delinquent acts, and what I mean by that is the stuff that is a crime if the child does it, for example, underage drinking, underage smoking, marijuana use, if it’s going on at mom’s house, and there’s a reason to believe mom should have known about it, you need to report that. If you don’t one, you’re looking at a deprived case, and two, you could be looking at criminal charges.
And again, it’s not for you to ascertain, is the child telling the truth? Did mom know or did mom not know. If they come back and they’ve got a joint in their pocket, just as a, for instance, you need to report that because it’s a big deal and it can get you jammed up.
We’re happy to talk over your situation with you before you make a decision. Obviously, we’re here to help you protect your kid. This has been Keith Flinn and the Fathers’ rights attorney Brian Jackson. Tulsa Fathers Rights team here in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Wirth Law Office, give us a call.