Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Sequoyah Memorial Office Building, 2400 N. Lincoln Blvd. • Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 521-3646 • Fax (405) 521-6684 • Internet: www.okdhs.org
 
340:75-3-530. Appeal process for substantiated findings of child abuse or neglect
 

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Issued 7-1-13

 

(a) Purpose.  The 2010 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), Section 5101 et seq. of Title 42 of the United States Code, requires the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) to provide an appeal process for persons who disagree with a substantiated finding of child abuse or neglect.  The appeal process:

  • (1) provides individuals with a substantiated finding of child abuse or neglect an opportunity for due process;
  • (2) serves a a quality assurance mechanism to assess findings compliance with child protective services (CPS) standards, per OAC 340:75-3-120 and 340:75-3-130;
  • (3) provides substantiated findings review by Child Welfare Services (CWS) personnel not involved in any other stage of the case.

(b) Eligibility criteria.  An individual may request a review through the appeal process when:

  • (1) the person is a person responsible for the child (PRFC), per OAC 340:75-3-2 in an investigation involving abuse or neglect allegations; and
  • (2) the investigation results in a substantiated finding regarding the PRFC; and
  • (3) no deprived petition is filed or amended regarding the PRFC; or
  • (4) there is no other court action or court order in regards to the alleged child abuse or neglect including pending or completed:
    • (A) protective order hearings;
    • (B) civil actions for monetary compensation;
    • (C) criminal court proceedings; or
    • (D) juvenile deprived cases regardless of disposition.
  • (5) no other OKDHS program specific review is or was conducted including a program review by the CPS Section:
    • (A) regarding a child death or near-death;
    • (B) for each substantiated finding of an out-of-home care investigation that was completed by a child welfare (CW) specialist or an Office of Client Advocacy (OCA) investigator.

(c) Tribal Investigations not eligible for OKDHS appeal.  The appeal process applies only to investigations conducted by OKDHS.  Investigations of child abuse or neglect investigated by a tribal representative or on tribal land are not eligible for an OKDHS appeal.

(d) Procedures for appeal process.  The procedures for the appeal process are outlined in (1) through (4).

  • (1) Notification to PRFC.  Upon substantiation of abuse, neglect, or both, the CWS specialist notifies the PRFC of the finding by mailing Forms 04KI019E, Notification Concerning Finding(s) of Child Abuse/Neglect, and 04KI020E, Request for Appeal, provided the criteria in OAC 340:75-3-530 are met.  Forms 04KI019E and 04KI020E are:
    • (A) mailed within ten calendar days of substantiation of abuse or neglect;
    • (B) mailed to the PRFC's last known address;
      • (i) Form 04KI019E informs the PRFC of:
      • (I) any substantiated child abuse or neglect finding in the investigation;
      • (II) the date of the abuse or neglect referral, allegation, and finding without identifying the reporting party; and
      • (III) demographic information;
      • (ii) Form 04KI020E specifies:
      • (I) the PRFC may file an appeal by mailing a request to CWS Appeals Program Unit within 15 calendar days from the postmark on the envelope containing Form 04KI020E; Request for Appeal; and
      • (II) failure to submit the appeal request within 15 calendar days from the postmark on the envelope containing Form 04KI020E results in the finding becoming final and the PRFC waives any right to appeal this finding in the future, unless good cause is established per OAC 340:75-3-530; and • 1
    • (C) not mailed to the PRFC when case records reflect that notification may place family members at risk.  • 2
  • (2) Conditions of good cause.  A PRFC is granted a review despite failure to make a timely response, provided good cause is established, including, but not limited to, severe illness or other disabling condition.
  • (3) Response to appeal request from PRFC.  If the PRFC requests a review within the required time, the Appeals Program Unit responds to the PRFC through written notice within ten calendar days following receipt of the PRFC's request for review.  The Appeals Program Unit notifies the PRFC:
    • (A) of the right to provide additional information through written statements that must be submitted within 30 calendar days from the postmark on the envelope containing the notification that the appeal was accepted for review;
    • (B) that failure to submit additional information within 30 calendar days results in a waiver of this right, unless good cause is established per OAC 340:75-3-530; and
    • (C) that verification of legal representation must be established when the PRFC requests an attorney be notified of the determination results.  Verification is established by a statement of representation on official letterhead from the attorney.  • 3
  • (4) Review Procedure.  Within 120 calendar days following acceptance of the PRFC's timely request for a review, or a late request for a review when good cause was established per OAC 340:75-3-530, the CWS Appeals Committee determines whether the substantiated finding of abuse or neglect meets substantiation protocol per OAC 340:75-3.
    • (A) The decision to uphold, modify, or reverse the original finding of abuse or neglect is determined by reviewing:
      • (i) Form 04KI003E, Report to District Attorney, that includes form 04KI030E, Assessment of Child Safety, attachments, and relevant CWS information including child welfare history and referrals; and
      • (ii) all written documents submitted by the PRFC.
    • (B) When the Appeals Program Unit determines the finding failed to meet the criteria for substantiation in compliance with OAC 340:75-3-103, the committee:
      • (i) determines whether the preliminary decision was based upon lack of credible evidence to support the allegations of child abuse, neglect, or both; or
      • (ii) determines whether the preliminary decision is based upon a lack of documentation by the CWS specialist:
        • (I) When a lack of documentation exists, the appeals section sends notification to the district director, approving supervisor, and CW specialist that information is missing and requests the information be added to the report or scanned into the KIDS file cabinet.
        • (II) After notification by the Appeals Program Unit, the district director reopens and reassigns the investigation.
        • (III) The assigned CW specialist adds the additional information to the report within 15 calendar days of the reassignment and sends notification to the Appeals Program Unit upon completion.
        • (IV) The Appeals Program Unit reconsiders the PRFC appeal with the additional information and modifies or upholds the finding as appropriate;
      • (iii) The Appeals Program Unit modifies the finding, when appropriate, in KIDS.
        • (I) When the substantiation finding is appropriate, but the allegation in KIDS is incorrect, the chairman on the appeals committee ensures the inappropriate allegation is marked as an improper entry and the correct allegation is added along with the substantiated finding; and
        • (II) Forms 04KI019E, Notification Concerning Finding(s) of Child Abuse/Neglect, and 04KI020E, Request for Appeal, are mailed to the PRFC with the corrected allegations.
    • (C) The Appeals Program Unit provides written notification of the final determination of the finding within 120 calendar days following acceptance of the appellant's request for a review to the:
      • (i) appellant;
      • (ii) district director;
      • (iii) deputy director for the region;
      • (iv) CW supervisor;
      • (v) CW specialist;
      • (vi) district attorney's office in the county where the finding originated;
      • (vii) tribe, when applicable; and
      • (viii) Oklahoma Child Care Services, when applicable.

INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-3-530

 

Issued 7-1-13

 

1.         Notification of appeal determination to person responsible for the child (PRFC).

(1) When to send notification of appeal determination to PRFC.  The Child Welfare (CW) supervisor assures Forms 04KI019E, Notification Concerning Finding(s) of Child Abuse/Neglect, and 04KI020E, Request for Appeal, are sent to each PRFC identified during the investigation, within 10 calendar days after an investigation with a substantiated finding is approved by the CW supervisor.

(2) How to send notification of appeal determination to the PRFC.  KIDS generates Forms 04KI019E and 04KI020E.  The address of the PRFC populates to Form 04KI019E designed to display the PRFC's address in a window envelope.  Forms 04KI019E and 04KI020E are mailed.

2.   Justification for not providing notification of appeal determination.  Justification for not sending Forms 04KI019E and 04KI020E is documented in KIDS Contacts screens.

3.   Response to appeal request from an Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) employee.

(1) In lieu of a review by the Appeals Program Unit, an OKDHS employee may request a review by programs staff comprised of a:

(A) programs administrator;

(B) programs manager; and

(C) programs field representative.

(2) Requests for review by programs staff is submitted in writing at the time of the appeal request.

4.   Notification to Child Welfare Services staff of appeal.  When the Appeals Program Unit accepts a PRFC request for review, notification of the acceptance is provided to the previously assigned CW specialist, supervisor, district director, and deputy director for the region who are advised of the need to ensure all necessary documentation has been entered into KIDS referral and investigation screens and that other supporting documentation is stored in the KIDS file cabinet.

5.   Final determination regarding investigation finding.

(1) The Appeals Program Unit notifies the appellant, district director, deputy director for the region, CW specialist and supervisor, office of the district attorney's office, and appropriate programs staff, such as Oklahoma Child Care Services and CPS Program Unit of the final determination regarding whether the substantiated finding is upheld or reversed.

(2) The CW specialist prints the final determination email, files the email in the CWS case record and, when applicable, in the resource record, and scans the email and stores it in the referral file cabinet.

6.     Appeals committee composition.  The Appeals Committee is comprised of:

(1) a Family-Centered Services (FCS) Program Unit program field representative who serves as the Appeals Committee chairperson;

(2) the FCS/Appeals program units programs manager;

(3) the CPS Program Unit programs manager or designee;

(4) the Quality Assurance Program Unit programs manager or designee;

(5) the Continuous Quality Improvement Program Unit programs manager or designee; and

(6) one CW supervisor or other representative above the supervisor level from each region designated by the deputy director.  The committee member:

(A) is designated as a rotating committee member; and

(B) does not vote on cases to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

 

 
Last Updated:  10/18/2013