Day Care Waivers Granted To Some Criminals

Sunday, October 28th 2007, 3:31 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An investigation into the Department of Human Services shows the agency has granted special waivers to criminals so they can be around day care children. A report by an Oklahoma City newspaper shows those granted waivers include people who committed domestic abuse, crimes of violence, drug offenses and sex crimes.

DHS has a policy barring certain former criminals from ever operating, working in or being in day cares. But they can ask for exemptions from the ban and, more often than not, DHS consents.

One exemption went to a former robber who went to prison four times and was described by prison officials as a violent, deceiving criminal prone to continued crime.

DHS Director Howard Hendrick says he thought his agency gave exemptions mostly to rehabilitated drug offenders and people convicted of property crimes.

He says waivers should not be given to anyone who would create a risk for children.

The official who granted the waivers was Janice Matthews, licensing coordinator for the DHS child care division. She declined comment.