Q: What is the Office of Client
A: The Office of Client
Advocacy (OCA) is an independent DHS office that helps protect
and advocate for the rights of DHS clients, such as people with
developmental disabilities living in institutional and community
settings. OCA also investigates complaints that a vulnerable
adult client, such as someone receiving services for
developmental disabilities, may have been the victim of
Q: Does the Office of Client
Advocacy have any responsibilities with regard to abused
A: OCA investigates abuse and neglect allegations
involving children in out-of-home placements other than
traditional foster care, like group homes with professional
Q: Is there a way to complain if
a client is not getting good treatment from a caretaker?
A: Yes. OCA handles grievance
programs for many types of clients, including children in the
custody of DHS regardless of placement; youth in the voluntary
care of DHS; foster parents approved by DHS; residents of the two
resource centers in Enid and Pauls Valley; residents of the
Robert M. Greer Center; former residents of the Hissom Memorial
Center; and residents of group homes or those living in the
community who receive services through the Developmental
Disabilities Services Division. The grievance programs promote
client safety and independence and delivery of DHS programs and
services in a fair, honest and professional manner. Advocates in
this office can assist you in filing a grievance.
Q: Can DHS clients file
A: Yes. OCA handles
grievance programs for children in the custody of DHS regardless
of placement; youth in the voluntary care of DHS; foster parents
approved by DHS; residents of the two resource centers in Enid
and Pauls Valley; residents of the Robert M. Greer Center; former
residents of the Hissom Memorial Center; and residents of group
homes or those living in the community who receive services
through the Developmental Disabilities Services Division. Any of
these clients may file a grievance with OCA. Advocates in this
office can assist you in filing a grievance if you’d like.
Q: How do I get more information
about DHS grievance programs?
A: Information about DHS grievance
programs is available through the OCA Grievance Liaison, Monday
through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (405) 522-2720 or 1
-800-522-8014; or the Director's Helpline at (405) 521-2779
Q: May I get advocacy services
A: The Advocacy Unit is
authorized to provide advocacy services to the former residents
of the Hissom Memorial Center in Sand Springs and current
residents and those transitioning from the Northern Oklahoma
Resource Center in Enid, the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center in
Pauls Valley, and the Robert M. Greer Center in Enid. OCA
may also provide advocacy services to other individuals who
receive services through the DHS Developmental Disabilities
Services Division who have a special short-term need for advocacy
Q: What do advocates do?
A: Advocates assist clients in
expressing their choices and preferences, promote informed
choices, assist with problem resolution and report allegations of
caretaker maltreatment of clients. They also file grievances on
behalf of clients, serve as authorized representatives in fair
hearings, and visit clients in their homes.
Q: How do I request special
A: Those who
believe they need special advocacy services may call the OCA
Intake Unit, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at
(405) 522-2720 or 1-800-522-8014 to request services. Information
provided during the intake process is kept confidential and is
reviewed by a supervisor. If OCA is able to accept the individual
as a client, he or she is promptly contacted by an assigned
Q: What is maltreatment of a
A: Maltreatment may
be abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, financial neglect,
financial exploitation or sexual exploitation. Oklahoma law
protects vulnerable adults from actions or omissions by a
caretaker which constitute maltreatment.
Q: How do I report
maltreatment of a vulnerable adult or abuse or neglect of a
A: DHS maintains a 24-hour,
toll-free abuse hotline at 1-800-522-3511. Callers may also
report maltreatment, abuse or neglect directly to OCA Monday
through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (405) 525-4850 or 1
-800-525-8014, or they may call local law enforcement. Callers
may remain anonymous.
Q: Are OCA investigative
A: Yes. OCA
investigative reports, like many other DHS records, are
confidential under state and federal laws and regulations.
Information about clients is confidential and protected from
unauthorized use. Only authorized individuals are given access to
case records or provided information from those records.
Q: What can
happen to a caretaker who abuses or
neglects a child or commits maltreatment of a vulnerable
A: In addition to any adverse
employment action (such as suspension, demotion or termination),
the caretaker may be prosecuted criminally and the
caretaker's name may be placed on the Community Services
Worker Registry or the Child Care Restricted Registry (Joshua’s
List) maintained by DHS.
Q: What is the effect of
having one’s name appear on one of these registries?
A: On Joshua’s List, individuals
identified as registrants are prohibited from licensure,
ownership, employment and/or residence in a licensed child care
facility. Individuals whose names appear on the Community
Services Worker Registry may not be hired by, contract with or
serve as a volunteer for DHS.