DHS Under Fire

Wednesday, February 13th 2008, 5:57 pm
By: News On 6

DHS has come under fire in a number of tragic cases.

Ryan Luke was already in a full-body cast when he died from head injuries in 1995.  His mother and her boyfriend were convicted of a pattern of abuse.

The News On 6's Joshua Brakhage reports DHS had piles of paperwork in the case, but didn't prevent his death.

In response to Ryan's death, the legislature overhauled Oklahoma's child welfare system, to put the strictest possible standards on judges, foster families and DHS workers.

Ten years later, a DHS worker admitted to faking reports in the death of Keenan Taylor.  The little boy was beaten, scalded and eventually killed by his father.  Keenan's social worker couldn't prove that he ever checked on the boy, despite several complaints of abuse.

DHS workers were on their way to shut down Vicki Chiles' daycare when they found Joshua Minton unconscious.  The boy later died, after Chiles taped his hands and mouth when he wouldn't quiet down for a nap.  Chiles was under investigation for hitting another child with a flyswatter.

Parents say DHS never made the abuse allegations public, or they would have pulled Joshua Minton out of the daycare.

The death of Kelsey Smith-Briggs sparked a new state law.  Kelsey was the constant target of abuse.  Over several months, her collarbone was shattered, both legs broken, and was killed by a blow to the stomach.

DHS was called 10 times, but Kelsey wasn't kept in protective custody.

Lawmakers later passed Kelsey's Law that strengthened the role of child advocates and made judges more accountable in child-placement cases.

Kelsey's Law also allows DHS to step in before a child is released to go back home and authorizes them to initiate criminal investigations of abuse by the OSBI.