Lawsuit Claims DHS Negligent When Investigating Abuse
By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is battling a federal class action lawsuit. Now there are new details about how they've handled the cases of the nine children named in that suit.
DHS has had K.T. in its care since she was five. A new report says she was not only shuttled in and out of seven foster homes and several shelters, but it indicates she may have been repeatedly exposed to sexual abuse.
The report says when K.T. was 6 years old, her foster mother told an OKDHS child welfare worker that she and her brother had "regressed" following a visit to her biological father.
The foster mother went on to say K.T. had a nightmare, and the 6-year-old was found "with a stuffed animal between her legs saying 'no daddy, no more.’"
Two days later, an investigator contacted K.T.'s therapist for some background information. It took 20 days before the investigator tried to talk to K.T. The report says, she didn't talk to him because she was afraid of being moved.
The investigator noted that K.T.'s "sexual acting out" seemed to have been "ignored in the early stages" and seemed constant the entire time she was in custody.
Two weeks later, the investigator talked to K.T.'s father, the person she visited, when she started acting out. He denied abusing the girl, blaming another person in K.T.'s home.
A week later - a full month and a half after the suspected abuse was first reported - the investigator got a copy of a report from K.T.'s therapist. It recommended K.T. and her brother continue family therapy with their father and increase overnight visits.
The report concludes that it's clear from K.T.'s sexualized behavior that she was "almost certainly sexually abused."
Not even two months later, there was another report that K.T. had been fondled, while at her father's home. That investigation took another six weeks. Once again no forensic interview was performed on K.T., and no abuse was found.
The lawyers suing the state says K.T.'s case proves DHS abuse investigations take too long and are not complete. According to K.T.'s file, she was never given a medical evaluation nor a forensic interview.