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Library: Policy

340:75-1-14. Legal system related to child welfare services


Revised 7-1-13

(a) Enforcement authority.  Pursuant to Section 1-1-104 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-1-104), the Attorney General, the district attorney of the appropriate district, and any other law enforcement official having jurisdiction has the authority to bring civil actions against any person, officer or department, board, commission, or other entity, to enforce the provisions of the Oklahoma Children's Code, or to enforce any of the laws of this state protecting or applying in any way to a child removed from the custody of the lawful parent of the child by a disposition order of the court.

(b) Legal considerations.  When a child requires legal protection, a judge responsible for deprived cases is assigned to the case.  When criminal prosecution of the perpetrator of child abuse or neglect is warranted, a judge responsible for criminal matters is assigned to the case.

(c) Deprived proceedings.  The focus of the court in cases of child abuse and neglect is the welfare of the child in the total context of the family.  This focus requires social service professionals and the court to work closely with one another toward the goal of protecting the child and determining the appropriate response.  The court has a range of choices available to rehabilitate the family and protect the child.  The court may enter orders in cases of child abuse or neglect:

  • (1) returning the child home under Oklahoma Department of Human Services  protective supervision;

  • (2) temporarily ordering the child placed out of the home until the behaviors of the parent or legal guardian provide safety for the child; or

  • (3) permanently removing the child from the home and terminating parental rights when:

    • (A) the parent is unwilling or unable to provide care and protection for the child; or

    • (B) when certain circumstances exist indicating the child cannot safely return to the home.



Revised 7-1-13


1.(a) Use of the court and legal process.The Oklahoma Department of Human Service (OKDHS) Child Welfare Services role is to:

  • (1) focus on child protection and family rehabilitation; and

  • (2) when safety threats cannot be managed in the child's home without court intervention, provide recommendations to the district attorney and the court.

(b) Guidelines for court intervention.Attempts are made to avoid placing the child outside the home unless a placement is necessary to ensure the child's safety and well-being.A recommendation for court intervention is made when:

  • (1) the child is in surroundings that are contrary to the child's welfare and continuation in the home or custody of the parent, legal guardian, or custodian would present an imminent safety threat;

  • (2) there is confirmation of serious abuse or neglect and the alleged perpetrator continues to have involvement with the child; and

  • (3) preventive efforts have failed and parents have not corrected the conditions jeopardizing the child's safety.

(c) Criminal proceedings.The purpose of criminal proceedings is to prosecute individuals charged with crimes and, when found guilty, establish punishment.Criminal investigations are conducted by law enforcement officials who may arrest the suspect and refer the case to the district attorney for prosecution.The court has jurisdiction over the accused, but generally has no authority to make orders concerning the child victim.The criminal court may fine or imprison a defendant or may place the defendant on probation.

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