Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Who reported me?
A: Everyone in Oklahoma is by law a mandated reporter (required to report) if they suspect child abuse or neglect. The caller’s identity is protected by law and is always kept confidential.
Q: How can I find out who my specialist is?
A: You can call or visit your local OKDHS office and ask them to look up who your specialist is. You can also email ParentSupport@OKDHS.org to request the name and contact information of your specialist.
Q: Can my child be taken away from me?
A: If OKDHS identifies a safety threat for your child and they cannot safely stay in your home, OKDHS has the legal responsibility of ensuring the child’s safety. This could include your child staying with others in a safety plan or being placed in OKDHS custody.
Q: Why did OKDHS remove my child?
A: During an investigation, OKDHS identified safety concerns for your child. OKDHS holds a Child Safety Meeting and it was determined your child could not safely stay in your home. OKDHS presents the information gathered in the investigation to the district attorney. At the request of the district attorney, a judge may issue an order placing your child in the emergency custody of OKDHS.
When your child needs immediate protection, a law enforcement officer may place your child in protective custody without a court order.
Q: If my child is removed, do I still have parental rights?
A: Yes. You have all of the rights and responsibilities of being a parent but the custody of your child is with OKDHS. You will retain your parental rights unless you relinquish them (has to be done in court with a judge) or your rights are terminated by a judge or jury. Speak to your attorney for more information.
o Notice: Not coming to court hearings after your child has been removed from your custody, may result in the loss of your parental rights. To help prevent this, keep in contact with your attorney and your case specialist if you cannot make it to a court hearing.
Q: When do I get to see my child next?
A: Ask your specialist if you can help create a written schedule. You should be able to see your child within seven days of them being removed from your custody. Then family time is at least weekly for the first 90 days your child is in custody. After the first 90 days, the frequency of family time depends on how your case is progressing. The goal is to increase time with your child as safety improves.
o Note: The Judge can also order frequency of family time. Not coming to court hearings may affect your time with your child.
Q: When is my child coming home?
A: By state law, the judge has to approve for your child to come home and start trial reunification. This decision is based on the recommendation of OKDHS or other court parties. For OKDHS to recommend trial reunification, you will need to show you have made behavior changes and the child can now be safe in your care. Once your child is home, in trial reunification, the court and OKDHS will continue to monitor you and your child’s safety for up to six months, or may be longer than six months.
Q: What do I do if I think I am the father of a child in OKDHS custody?
A: Contact the child welfare specialist on the case and notify them that you might be the father. See FAQ: How can I found out who my specialist is. Your specialist will give you more instructions on what to do next. You will be expected to come to court and do a genetic test to confirm you are the father. If you are the father, then you will decide if you want to seek custody of your child or some other outcome.
Q: Who can I contact if I have a concern about my child or the care they are receiving?
A: First, address it with your specialist and their supervisor. If you still have concerns, then you can contact Oklahoma Client Advocacy.
Q: What can I do if I have a complaint about my specialist? A: If you feel that the child welfare specialist assigned to your case is not treating you fairly, or that the child welfare specialist is not following OKDHS policy, an open talk with the specialist may take care of the situation. When you and the specialist cannot work out the problem, you may talk with the assigned supervisor. If you are not satisfied with the supervisor’s response, you may talk with the OKDHS district director. In case you feel the staff has treated you unfairly, you may contact the regional director’s office.
A grievance procedure is available to resolve issues regarding your child. You may file a grievance on behalf of your child. Read about your child’s rights here. The grievance procedure does not apply to rulings by the court. You may obtain information regarding how to file a grievance from your local OKDHS Child Welfare Services office.
Call the Director's Helpline at 1-877-751-2972
For additional frequently asked questions about Child Protective Services, Family-Centered Services, or Court-Involved Permanency click on the pamphlets below.