340:2-3-63. Grievance and Abuse Review Committee (GARC) review of Office of Client Advocacy (OCA) investigation reports regarding foster parent complaints
(a) Application. At the request of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) Director, GARC reviews an OCA investigation report involving allegations of discrimination and retaliation investigated by OCA in accordance with OAC 340:2-3-38.
(b) Scope of GARC review. GARC conducts a de novo paper review of the alleged incident(s) investigated by OCA.
- (1) Within three business days of receiving a request for GARC review from the OKDHS Director, the advocate general or designee informs the foster parent(s), the applicable state office administrators and the administrator of any affected child placing agency.
- (2) GARC does not consider prior unsubstantiated allegations.
- (3) The foster parent, the applicable administrator, affected state office administrators, or their designees, may attend the GARC meeting. The level of participation of attendees is within the discretion of the chair of GARC.
- (4) If a foster parent or an administrator wants to submit additional evidence not considered during the OCA investigation, it is submitted to the advocate general contemporaneously with the request for GARC review. For good cause shown, additional evidence can be submitted to the advocate general no later than eight business days before the GARC meeting.
- (5) When additional information is needed in order for GARC to complete its review, GARC may continue its review of a case until its next meeting. GARC may request additional information from OCA, an administrator, or a state office administrator.
(c) GARC report contents. Within 15 business days of a GARC meeting to review a case, GARC prepares a report that includes:
- (1) GARC's opinion whether the evidence is sufficient, based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, to confirm retaliation or discrimination occurred and the basis for GARC's opinion;
- (2) if in GARC's opinion the evidence is sufficient to confirm retaliation or discrimination, the report specifies whether retaliation, discrimination, or both occurred and the specific acts constituting the retaliation or discrimination; and
- (3) areas of concern identified by GARC during its review of the case regarding practices or procedures of the child placing agency or OKDHS.
(d) OKDHS Director's response. The advocate general submits to the OKDHS Director the GARC report, the corresponding OCA investigation report, and other pertinent documents.
- (1) Within 15 business days of receipt of GARC's report, the OKDHS Director decides whether to:
- (A) adopt GARC's findings;
- (B) adopt GARC's findings with modifications;
- (C) return the matter to GARC for further consideration; or
- (D) reverse GARC's finding.
- (2) If the OKDHS Director does not respond within 15 business days of receipt of a GARC report, GARC's opinion with regard to the finding(s) becomes final.
(e) Notification of final result.
- (1) The advocate general provides notice of the final result of the OKDHS Director's request for GARC review to affected state office administrators and the applicable foster parent(s).
- (2) Within two business days of receipt of this notification, a state office administrator responsible for an employee named in the allegation informs each such employee of the final result of GARC's review.
- (3) Within 20 business days of receipt of this notification in a report which confirms retaliation or discrimination, the state office administrator informs the advocate general in writing if any personnel action has or will be taken with regard to an employee, and of any corrective action taken or to be taken with regard to areas of concern noted in the GARC report.