340:2-3-33. Procedure for reporting suspected abuse, neglect, verbal abuse, caretaker misconduct, and exploitation
(a) Reporting abuse or neglect of a child under 18 years of age. Persons having reason to believe that a child under 18 years of age is a victim of abuse or neglect are required per Section 1-2-101 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-2-101) to promptly report it to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) Abuse and Neglect Hotline (Hotline) at 1-800-522-3511. Any allegation of abuse or neglect reported in any manner to a DHS county office is immediately referred to the Hotline, per Section 10A O.S. § 1-2-101.
(b) Reporting abuse, neglect, verbal abuse, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Any person having reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult is a victim of abuse, neglect, verbal abuse, or exploitation reports to DHS or the municipal police department or sheriff's office in the county where the suspected abuse, neglect, verbal abuse, or exploitation occurred as soon as the person is aware of the situation. The reporting requirement applies to providers, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:2‑3‑2 and the provider's employees and agents.
(c) Reporting caretaker misconduct regarding a child. When the DHS Specialized Placement Unit Child Care Licensing office, the Office of Juvenile Affairs, or another source determines a:
(1) pattern of misconduct exists by a facility or person responsible for the child of interest (PRFCI); or
(2) facility administration fails to take appropriate corrective action in response to an investigation or written plan of compliance, a report should be made to the Hotline.
(d) Reporting caretaker misconduct regarding a vulnerable adult. Persons who have reason to believe caretaker misconduct, per OAC 340:2‑3‑2, has occurred with regard to a vulnerable adult residing at the Robert M. Greer Center (Greer), promptly reports the allegation to the Office of Client Advocacy (OCA).
(e) Reporting a vulnerable adult's death, serious physical injury, or sexual assault. In addition to the mandatory reporting requirements per OAC:340:2-3-33(b) the events listed in (1) through (7) of this subsection are reported to OCA intake when a vulnerable adult's caretaker is alleged to be involved in the vulnerable adult's:
(1) violent death, whether apparently homicidal, suicidal, or accidental; • 1
(2) death under suspicious, unusual, or unnatural circumstances;
(3) death when the vulnerable adult is a resident Greer;
(4) death when the vulnerable adult is a Hissom class member;
(5) serious physical injury, per OAC 340:2‑3‑2;
(6) physical injury when the injury is:
(A) unexplained; and
(B) suspicious; or
(7) rape, sodomy, or other sexual activity prohibited by state law.
(f) Interference, retaliation, or discrimination related to the reporting obligations required by the Oklahoma Children's Code and the Protective Services for Vulnerable Adults Act prohibited.
(1) Per 10A O.S. § 1-2-101, the reporting obligations under the Oklahoma Children's Code are individual and no employer, supervisor, or administrator interferes with the reporting obligations of any employee or other person or in any manner discriminates or retaliates against the employee or other person who in good faith reports suspected child abuse or neglect, or who provides testimony in any proceeding involving child abuse or neglect. Any employer, supervisor, or administrator who discharges, discriminates, or retaliates against the employee or other person is liable for damages, costs, and attorney fees.
(2) Per 43A O.S. § 10-104, no employer terminates the employment, prevents or impairs the practice, or occupation of, or imposes any other sanction on any employee solely for the reason the employee made or caused to be made a report or cooperated with an investigation pursuant to the Protective Services for Vulnerable Adults Act.
(g) Immunity from liability for good faith report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child or vulnerable adult. Per 10A O.S. § 1-2-104, the Oklahoma Children's Code and 43A O.S. § 10-104, the Oklahoma Protective Services for Vulnerable Adults Act, any person exercising good faith and due care in making a report of alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation has immunity from any civil or criminal liability the person might otherwise incur. The person has the same immunity with respect to participation in any judicial proceeding resulting from the report.
(h) Failure to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child or vulnerable adult. Any person who knowingly and willfully fails to promptly report abuse, neglect, or exploitation as required per 10A O.S. § 1-2-101 and 43A O.S. § 10-104 may be subject to administrative action or criminal sanctions upon conviction. In addition, failure to report by a DHS employee may result in disciplinary action.
(i) False report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child or vulnerable adult.
(1) Per 10A O.S. § 1-2-101, any person who knowingly and willfully makes a false report regarding alleged maltreatment of a child, or a report the person knows lacks factual foundation, may be reported by DHS to local law enforcement for criminal investigation, and upon conviction, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(2) Per 43A O.S. § 10-104, any person who willfully or recklessly makes a false report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult may be liable in a civil action for actual damages and for punitive damages set by the court or jury regarding the reported party.
(j) Method of reporting.
(1) Each report alleging abuse or neglect of a child is screened by the DHS Hotline in compliance with Child Welfare Services policies and procedures. Each accepted report of a child within Office of Client Advocacy (OCA) investigative authority and scope is assigned to OCA for possible investigation. Reports may be phoned to the Hotline at 1-800-522-3511, faxed to 405-936-0922, emailed to STO.Hotline.Referral@OKDHS.org, or mailed to Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline, DHS, PO Box 25352, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73125-0352.
(2) Reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a Hissom class member, resident of Greer, or other vulnerable adults receiving Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) services are reported to OCA except for weekends and after business hours when the reports are made to the Hotline at 1-800-522-3511. Reports to OCA may be phoned to 1-800-522-8014 or 405-522-2720, faxed to 405-522-2680, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(3) Reports of abuse, neglect, verbal abuse, financial neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult receiving services from a Medicaid personal care services provider are reported to the Adult Protective Services office, except for weekends and after business hours when the reports are made to the Hotline at 1-800-522-3511.
(4) Reports of allegations may be submitted by completing Form 15GN001E, Office of Client Advocacy-Intake Referral, and sent to the applicable intake unit.
(k) Confidentiality of reporting party's identity. The identity of the person who reports abuse or neglect of a child per 10A O.S. § 1-6-102(H)(7), or abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult per 43A O.S. § 10-105.1(C)(2), is kept confidential and is not disclosed. DHS accepts anonymous reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child or vulnerable adult.
(l) Staff training regarding reporting obligations. Each administrator ensures the employee receives relevant training regarding the employee's responsibility to report a child or vulnerable adult's alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Except for employees of a DDS provider, the employee receives the training within 30 calendar days of the employee's initial employment and receives subsequent annual training. DDS provider employee training is as specified per OAC 340:100-3-38 et seq.