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Children of color are less likely to be reunified with their birth families.

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Oklahoma CPS News Archive

Oklahoma News Coverage

by Randy Ellis and Michael Kimball

Oklahoma City police are investigating an incident in which an off-duty Oklahoma City police officer handcuffed her 9-year-old adopted special needs daughter and left her alone in the back of the officer's parked patrol car.

The incident happened Dec. 4, but no report was filed by a fellow police officer who went to Downey's home in response to a 911 emergency call on that date. Senior police officials launched an internal investigation into the incident this week after receiving an inquiry from The Oklahoman. An anonymous caller had alerted a newspaper reporter.

News OK

January 9, 2010

by Tara Vreeland

The Okmulgee Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of 3-year-old Kyra Zubah as a homicide. No arrests have been made.

The Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office says that Kyra Zubah died after suffering a head injury while in Creek tribal foster care. Kyra Zubah was originally put into foster care in 2006, when she was just 11 weeks old, after her biological father, Timothy Zubah, was arrested and charged with child abuse.

News on 6

November 14, 2009

by Jane Glenn Cannon

NORMAN -- A convicted sex offender remained hospitalized in critical condition today after trying to slit his throat Thursday in a Cleveland County courtroom.

Troy Leal, 43, used an X-Acto knife to cut himself after a judge revoked his probation, officials said. Sheriff's Deputy Steve Lucas suffered stab wounds to his hand and arm when he intervened, officials said.

NewsOK

November 13, 2009

by Clifton Adcock

The death of a 3-year-old Muscogee (Creek) Nation foster child was ruled a homicide Thursday by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office.

Kyra Zubah died at St. Francis Hospital on Tuesday after being taken to the hospital from Okmulgee with injuries sustained over the weekend. The state medical examiner ruled that the cause of death was blunt head trauma and the manner of death was homicide.

Tulsa World

November 12, 2009

A child advocacy group out of New York, called Children's Rights, sued the Oklahoma Department of Human Services saying the state's foster care system is broken.

A social work expert studied DHS's foster care system and found that the harm is extremely high for every child in DHS custody. A report by a senior consultant from the National Resource Center of Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning reviewed the lawsuit and said, "When attempting to describe the children's harm and suffering, the words that come to mind are incomprehensible, unimaginable, outrageous and immoral."

Bartlesville Live

November 11, 2009

by Janet Pearson

It's happened to all of us. You're at the grocery story or the drug store and you notice an exasperated parent trying to discipline a child. The exasperation level grows to the point you worry what might happen later.

Should you say something to the parent? Should you mind your own business? Or is the simmering problem your business? A national effort aimed at training people from all walks of life how to appropriately intervene in such circumstances is growing and recently took a step forward in Tulsa, where child-welfare advocates received training in how to implement the American Humane Association's Front Porch Project.

Tulsa World

September 20, 2009

MUSKOGEE -- Police have arrested a Kansas man who is accused of helping run a network that brought teenage girls to brothels to perform sex acts.

Ronnie Presley of Wichita is charged with three counts of sex trafficking children and three counts of transporting minors. Presley is one of six defendants who were indicted for running a human-trafficking network that brought teenage girls to Houston.

KSN TV 3

August 28, 2009

A Calera woman is accused of chasing and beating a 10-year-old boy with a belt.

Mariyam Eaton, 38, was charged with child abuse following an investigation by Calera Police. Police questioned Eaton who said the boy called her vulgar names and she chased him with a belt but never struck him, the affidavit states.

The Durant Daily Democrat

August 27, 2009

by Nolan Clay and Ann Kelley

An Edmond couple is accused in an embezzlement case of financing a lavish lifestyle for themselves with $461,586 in taxpayer and donated funds intended to help abused and neglected children.

The state multicounty grand jury Tuesday indicted Anna Marie Naukam, 51, the former Oklahoma CASA Association executive director, and her husband, Eugene M. Naukam III, 64. The indictment was made public today.

News OK

August 20, 2009

by Jay F. Marks

Child welfare officials investigated reports 5-month-old Natalie Emami Day was living in a house without utilities and hadn't seen a doctor in the months before her Feb. 5 death, according to reports released Tuesday.

One caller reported in October that the 7-week-old girl was living without utilities in a home where drugs were being abused, the report states. A second report indicated Natalie had not seen a doctor or received any immunizations since her birth.

News OK

July 16, 2009

by Chris Iseli

Ever since Children's Rights joined advocates from across the state of Oklahoma in taking legal action to reform the state's extremely dangerous child welfare system in February 2008, the state has fought back hard.

In May, the judge ruled that the case could proceed on behalf of all of the more than 10,000 children who depend on the state child welfare system for protection and care. Now they are appealing the judge's decision to a higher court, and they asked the judge to restrict our access to evidence about the system's practices and the harm it is causing kids until the higher court issues its decision. On Wednesday, the judge agreed to do so.

Children's Rights

July 10, 2009

by Mike Averill and Kim Archer

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has released its 2009 legislative report, calling the session "very good for children, youth and families."

Child abuse prevention/intervention: HB 2028 updated the Children's Code with new language, using best-practice models for court proceedings, child welfare investigations and custody issues. SB 339 stresses the importance of placing siblings together in foster care or adoptive homes. It requires parents whose children are being removed to provide a list of suitable relatives for possible placement.

Tulsa World

July 10, 2009

by Lynn Safranek

Gary Staton said he had lost the will to be a parent after his wife died. Now, the man who dropped off his nine kids under Nebraska's safe haven law is going to be a father again.

Since the Staton children were young, the family has received $995,468 in different forms of government aid, including more than $600,000 in food stamps and $109,774 in Medicaid, according to Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services records.

The Omaha World-Herald

June 28, 2009

by Robert Boczkiewicz

DENVER - Oklahoma officials are alleging that the strategy of a court case on behalf of Oklahoma's 10,000 foster children is to force the state into a settlement at a staggering cost to taxpayers.

State child welfare officials are making that argument to the federal appeals court in Denver in a case brought by New York-based Children's Rights, a child-advocacy organization. Numerous foster children have suffered severe abuse while in custody of the department, according to the lawsuit.

Tulsa World

June 23, 2009

by Mark Schlachtenhaufen

An Oklahoma County jury has recommended a life sentence for an Edmond man prosecutors said murdered a 5-year-old boy.

Following deliberations, which ended Tuesday evening, the jury found Marcus Isaiah Clancy, 31, guilty on one count of first-degree murder and recommended a sentence of life with the possibility of parole. Formal sentencing is scheduled for July 10 before Judge Twyla Mason Gray.

The Edmond Sun

June 10, 2009

by Dan Sullivan

Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of child abuse in the country. Currently, nearly 12,000 Oklahoma children are in state care. Last year, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services responded to 65,000 reports of child abuse.

In Tulsa alone, DHS assesses more than 500 reports of child abuse every month. Oklahoma's child abuse statistics continue to improve. Fewer children were abused last year than 10 years ago.

Tulsa World

May 28, 2009

by Mary Ann Edwards

I was in for an eye opener once I began the research on foster homes in Oklahoma. What I found was that the number of children coming into care had soared, but the number of foster homes had remained about the same.

Currently there are Child SHARE offices in north Oklahoma City, Norman, Tulsa, Lawton, and we are expanding. We care for approximately 240 children on a daily basis and have had 106 children adopted by our foster families or their respite foster families since we began.

News OK

May 20, 2009

by Ginnie Graham

The high removal rate is a concern for causing trauma to children. Officials say the rate also is high because the state's legal definition of when to remove a child is broader than other states.

Oklahoma allows for removal on risk of danger and not just "imminent" danger. Also, Tulsa and Oklahoma counties have agreements that allow law enforcement to place children in custody without a DHS consultation. Pending legislation would change those standing orders to require DHS involvement in all child removals.

Tulsa World

April 14, 2009

by Ginnie Graham

Julia Partney watched as Tulsa law enforcement agents flooded into the home during a drug raid. She was there as part of her training to become a child welfare worker for the DHS. Children were believed to be living in the house.

All DHS child welfare investigators complete a five-week training course, called Core, that includes job shadowing, interpersonal skills, assessments, legal liability, safety and an overview of the mountains of documents that must be completed. About 50 workers a month are trained to work in investigations, foster care placement and adoption.

Tulsa World

April 13, 2009

by David Harper

A hearing that had been scheduled for Monday in a child-welfare reform lawsuit has been postponed until May 5.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell made the scheduling change because one of the key attorneys in the case is dealing with a family medical crisis.

Tulsa World

March 28, 2009

ALTUS -- A former state Department of Human Services employee has been charged with forging more than $4,500 in checks on a child protection account in Altus.

Belinda Ann Maldonado is accused of writing the phony checks after she was promoted to a new position in Oklahoma City in July 2007. Maldonado, 44, is supposed to surrender to authorities Friday, when she will make her first court appearance on the felony charges filed March 4 in Jackson County.

News OK

March 11, 2009

by Kirsten McIntyre

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A DHS worker left hundreds of confidential documents behind after she was evicted from her rental home in Guthrie.

The documents obtained by NEWS 9 contained names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers. They also contained the names and addresses of children involved in sexual and physical abuse.

News 9

March 3, 2009

by Jay F. Marks

Clarence W. Cooper II isn't a big fan of Oklahoma's child welfare system. And he's not shy about saying so.

Cooper acknowledges his sharp tongue has caused him problems. Still, he maintains the state Department of Human Services had no cause to take his children. The 32-year-old father surrendered parental rights to his four children when it became clear he wasn't going to be able to beat a system he describes as "the largest human-trafficking, child-exploitation and extortion ring in the state of Oklahoma."

News OK

March 2, 2009

by Jay F. Marks

A state employees union - including more than 300 child welfare workers - is endorsing a class-action lawsuit against the state Department of Human Services.

The Oklahoma Public Employees Association, with DHS workers accounting for at least a quarter of the union's 10,000 members, claims such lawsuits are necessary to fix problems with public service programs in Oklahoma.

News OK

February 13, 2009

by David Harper

Plaintiffs' attorneys on Friday fleshed out what they are specifically seeking in their pending lawsuit that seeks top-to-bottom reform of the state's child-welfare system.

The development came on the one-year anniversary of the filing of the lawsuit, which named various DHS officials as defendants and alleged that the agency routinely places children who are in state custody in unsafe situations in which many suffer further abuse and even death.

Tulsa World

February 13, 2009

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