340:110-1-52. Legal actions
(a) Failure to meet requirements. When numerous, repeated, or serious non‑compliance with licensing requirements is observed and documented, or when an operator is unable to comply with the requirements, or fails to protect the health and safety of children, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) may deny or revoke the license. Denial or revocation of a license is based on observation, investigation, and documentation that the operator is unable or unwilling to comply with minimum requirements.
(1) Denial of a license is recommended for a facility or agency that has filed an application for license.
(2) Revocation of a license is recommended for a facility or agency that is currently licensed.
(b) Consent agreement. OKDHS may offer to enter into a consent agreement with a facility in lieu of license denial or revocation. If such action has already taken place, a consent agreement may be used during the appeal process if the facility comes into compliance with licensing requirements. The use of a consent agreement is not required prior to denying or revoking a license. • 1
(1) An office conference with the operator is scheduled to develop the consent agreement. The programs manager is present at the meeting. The operator may bring legal representation.
(A) The programs manager determines the minimum terms that are acceptable to avoid negative sanctions. Terms and time frames of the agreement are based upon the nature and severity of the non-compliance.
(B) The agreement may include emergency voluntary restrictions, such as a ban on future admissions of children to the facility, a restriction on the ages of children cared for in the facility, a reduction in the number of children attending the facility, and specific staff training, drug testing, and medical or psychological evaluation.
(C) Time frames to initiate and conclude the terms of the agreement are established and may be extended upon approval of the programs manager and the OKDHS Legal Division.
(2) The operator is required to prominently post a copy of the consent agreement in the residential facility or child-placing agency. During the next monitoring visit, the licensing staff verifies that the consent agreement is posted. If it is not posted, the licensing staff documents it as a violation of the terms of the consent agreement.
(3) The licensing staff mails a copy of the consent agreement, with a cover letter to parents or guardians of children currently housed at the facility. If the operator has not provided children's names and addresses, the licensing staff records the information from the children's records during the next monitoring visit.
(4) The licensing staff conducts monitoring visits at least monthly while the consent agreement is in effect. The same witness accompanies the licensing staff on monitoring visits whenever possible.
(5) Any violation of the terms of the consent agreement is:
(A) documented on Form 07LC080E, Licensing Services Supplemental Information; and
(B) considered grounds for proceeding with license revocation or denial.
(6) The residential child care facility or child-placing agency is not entitled to an appeal of the terms of the consent agreement, as participation in the agreement is voluntary.
(c) Denial or revocation of license. The licensing staff consults with the programs manager regarding the denial or revocation recommendation.
(1) The licensing staff prepares a summary of non-compliance and submits it to the programs manager for review, with a recommendation to approve, disapprove, or delay decision pending further investigation.
(2) When the programs manager approves the denial or revocation, it is reviewed by the OKDHS Legal Division. The director of Child Care Services or designee has final approval of denial or revocation.
(3) Notification of proposed denial or revocation is sent by certified mail to the operator, and to the OKDHS Legal Division, at least 30 days prior to the effective date of the proposed action, and includes a:
(A) copy of the recommendation summary;
(B) notice of the operator's right to appeal the decision; • 2
(C) statement that the law requires notice in writing of the denial or revocation be given to parents or custodians of children attending the facility. The operator is instructed to submit to OKDHS the names and addresses of currently enrolled children; and
(D) sign providing notice of proposed denial or revocation that must be prominently posted in the facility.
(1) An appeal of the decision to deny or revoke license must be submitted to the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services by the operator within 30 days of receipt of the notice. If the operator does not appeal the decision within the time period, the programs manager sends to the operator by regular mail a notice of denial or revocation that includes the effective date. This is also forwarded to the licensing records office for potential restricted registration procedures per OAC 340:110-1-10.1. • 3
(2) If an appeal is made by an operator to OKDHS, a hearing is scheduled by the OKDHS Appeals Unit. The operator is notified of the hearing by personal service, or by delivery to the proper address by certified mail, at least two weeks prior to the date of the hearing.
(3) If the administrative hearing officer upholds the OKDHS decision, the hearing officer provides a written notice at the conclusion of the hearing, which contains an explanation of appeal rights.
(4) The facility may continue to operate during any appeal process unless an Emergency Order is in effect.
(A) The licensing staff conducts monitoring visits at least once a month, unless advised otherwise in writing by the programs manager or designee, and is accompanied by the same witness whenever possible.
(B) If at any time during the appeal process OKDHS believes the health, safety, or well-being of children is at risk:
(i) an Emergency Order is requested; or
(ii) following consultation with the programs manager or designee, the licensing staff contacts the district attorney (DA) of the local county or Attorney General and requests that an injunction be filed.
(e) Child care discontinued.
(1) If the decision of OKDHS to deny or revoke is upheld during all appeals, the programs manager informs the operator in a letter that child care must immediately cease. This is also forwarded to the licensing records office for potential restricted registration procedures per OAC 340:110-1-10.1.
(A) The licensing staff conducts a follow-up visit to confirm that child care has been discontinued. The programs manager or designee is notified of the visit.
(B) If the operator continues to maintain and operate the residential child care facility or child-placing agency after a final decision to deny or revoke license, the licensing staff consult with the programs manager regarding following procedures in (i) - (l) of this Section.
(2) If the OKDHS decision to deny or revoke is not upheld, OKDHS takes action to implement the decision within ten days.
(3) When OKDHS denies or revokes a facility's license, the responsible entity can not make application for a new residential child care facility or child‑placing agency license within Oklahoma for five years.
(f) Emergency Order. An Emergency Order may be issued by OKDHS when immediate action is needed to protect the health, safety, or well-being of children in a child care facility or served by a child-placing agency.
(1) If the operator is unwilling to voluntarily correct the hazardous situation, the licensing staff notifies the programs manager of the circumstances. If the programs manager agrees that an Emergency Order is warranted, all supporting documentation is given to the director of Oklahoma Child Care Services (OCCS) for review. The written order is issued and signed by the programs manager. If the risk is such that children must be immediately removed from the residential facility or placement through a child-placing agency, the director of OCCS may give verbal approval for removal of children.
(A) The administrator or director and parents or custodians are told that the facility will not be open on the following day; or parents or custodians are contacted to pick up their children immediately.
(B) If every effort has been made to reach the parents or custodians, and children are at immediate risk of harm, the programs manager contacts law enforcement to remove the children.
(2) The Emergency Order states the existence of an emergency and sets forth remedies such as removal of children from the facility or closure of a facility. The order is effective immediately and includes the right to appeal the decision.
(3) Licensing staff verify compliance with Emergency Order for a period of 30 days after the action becomes final, unless the Emergency Order is rescinded within that timeframe.
(4) The Emergency Order may be rescinded when the programs manager verifies correction of the hazardous situation. Upon receipt of such documentation, the director of OCCS notifies the operator in writing that the order has been rescinded.
(5) The operator may request a hearing by filing a written request within ten days of receipt of the Emergency Order. The hearing is conducted within ten days from receipt of the operator's request.
(6) If operator disagrees with the results of the administrative hearing, the operator may appeal to the district court within 30 days of the decision of the administrative hearing officer.
(g) Rescinding the order. The Emergency Order may be rescinded when the licensing staff verifies correction of the hazardous situation. Upon receipt of such documentation, the programs manager notifies the operator in writing that the order has been rescinded.
(h) Hearing process.
(1) The operator may request a hearing by filing a written request within ten days of receipt of the Emergency Order. The hearing is conducted within ten days from receipt of the operator's request. An OKDHS hearing officer conducts the hearing.
(2) If the results of the OKDHS hearing are disputed, the operator may file an appeal in district court within ten days of the decision.
(i) Violation of the Emergency Order. If an operator violates the conditions set forth in the Emergency Order, the licensing specialist, after consultation with the programs manager, contacts a Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET)-certified officer for assistance and makes a referral to the DA for further action.
(j) Citation Request. A referral is made on Form 07LC097E, Citation Request, for the assistance of a CLEET-certified officer. Procedures regarding citation request are:
(1) Licensing staff contacts a CLEET-certified officer to schedule a visit to the facility.
(2) Upon violations of conditions set forth in the Emergency Order, or following the revocation, or denial of a license, a citation may be issued by the CLEET-certified officer for not less than $100, nor more than $500 for every day the facility maintains and receives children.
(3) Licensing staff and a CLEET–certified officer monitor the facility until care of children has ceased.
(k) DA referral. If violation of an Emergency Order occurs, licensing staff consults with Programs Manager for the necessity of a referral to DA. Should a referral be necessary, licensing staff completes Form 07LC098E, District Attorney Referral, which includes documentation of the facts of the case. A copy is sent to the statewide licensing coordinator who informs the OKDHS Legal Division of the referral.
(l) Referral to the Attorney General. If no action is taken by a DA of the county where the facility is operating, a referral may be made to the Attorney General by the statewide licensing coordinator or designee.
1. The licensing staff documents the consent agreement on the database.
2. Questions from the operator regarding the action and appeal process are referred to the programs manager or designee.
3. The closure date is entered into the computer by the programs manager or designee. A copy of the correspondence is sent to the licensing staff.