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Library: Policy

340:75-10-8.1. General requirements

Issued 7-1-11

(a) Uncensored mail communications for residents.  Pursuant to 10A O.S. § 1-7-105, a child residing in an OKDHS managed and operated shelter may have constant access to writing materials and may send mail without limitation, censorship, or prior reading and may receive mail without prior reading.  Mail may be opened in the presence of the child, without being read, to inspect for contraband or if authorized by the court for the protection of the child.  Restrictions are court-ordered when warranted for the child's protection.  • 1

(b) Resident's communication and visitation with family.  A child in OKDHS custody has a right to communicate and visit his or her family on a regular basis, and to communicate with persons in the community provided the communication or visitation is in the best interests of the child, per 10A O.S. § 1-7-105.  • 2

(c) Resident's access to his or her attorney.  A shelter resident is provided access to his or her attorney while a resident of an OKDHS managed and operated shelter.

(d) Comprehensive service plan.  A written service plan, required by OAC 340:75-110-3-154,  is developed and documented for each resident within three days of admission.  • 2

(e) Education.  Pursuant to 10A O.S. § 1-7-105 a child in the custody or care of OKDHS is provided access to an education including teaching, educational materials, and books.  In accordance with 10A O.S. § 1-7-103, when a child is admitted to the shelter, educational instruction is provided, as soon as practicable, through enrollment in a public school or an alternative program consistent with the needs of the child.  Pursuant to 10A O.S. § 1-9-111, OKDHS may:

  • (1) assist local school districts in providing an education to children in OKDHS operated facilities;

  • (2) supplement the education; and

  • (3) provide facilities for these purposes.  • 3

(f) McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.  Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. § 1143 et seq.) prohibits the segregation of a homeless child or youth in a separate school, or in a separate program within a school, based on the child or youth's homelessness.

(g) Hygiene and clothing.  Per 10A O.S. § 1-7-105, a child placed in an OKDHS operated and managed shelter is allowed daily access to showers and is allowed his or her own clothing or individualized clean clothing.

(h) Emergency plans in OKDHS managed and operated shelters.  The shelters maintain plans for the protection of all persons in the facility in the event of fire, severe weather, or other emergency situations in accordance with OAC 340:110-3-165.1.  The plans include evacuation of the shelter buildings when necessary.  All shelter staff are trained to perform their duties in the event of an emergency and emergency plan drills are conducted periodically.

(i) Minimum qualifications for shelter staff.  Per 10A O.S. § 1-9-111, shelter staff working with or around children possess minimum qualifications designed to assure:

  • (1) sufficient education, training, experience, and background to provide adequate and safe professional care and services to children; and

  • (2) children are not exposed to abuse, deprivation, criminal conduct, or other unwholesome conditions attributable to employee misconduct.  • 4

(j) Prohibited punishment.  A shelter resident is not punished by physical force, deprivation of nutritious meals, family visits, or solitary confinement per 10A O.S. § 1-7-105.

(k) Mistreatment of shelter residents prohibited.  OKDHS conduct prohibits the abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of shelter residents and requires employees to report any suspected abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of children residing in a shelter.  • 5

(l) Use of physical force.  Use of physical force, when authorized, is the least force necessary under the circumstances and is permitted by 10A O.S. § 1-7-105 only:

  • (1) for self-protection;

  • (2) to separate children who are fighting;

  • (3) to restrain children in danger of inflicting harm to themselves or others; or

  • (4) to deter children who are in the process of leaving the facility without authorization.  • 6, 7, and 8

(m) Resident grievances in OKDHS managed and operated shelters.  OKDHS maintains a complaint resolution process designed to ensure fair consideration of complaints made by or on behalf of children in OKDHS custody.  The grievance process may be utilized by shelter residents.  • 9

(n) Volunteers in OKDHS managed and operated shelters.  Pursuant to OAC 340:110-3-153.1, OKDHS shelters may utilize groups of or individual volunteers.

(o) Resident's shelter record.  OKDHS shelters maintain a written record for each resident.  • 10 


Issued 7-1-11

1.(a) Child's communication with family and community members.The shelter provides telephones, letter writing materials, and stamps for the shelter residents' use in initiating and receiving communications.Telephone and mail communications with family members are permitted and uncensored unless restricted by:

(1) court order;

(2) request of the investigating Child Welfare (CW) worker during the ongoing investigation.Once the investigation is completed a court order is requested when it is in the best interests of the child to restrict communications; or

(3) district attorney request, until a court order is issued.

(b) Visitation.Visitation with significant family members is critical to the well-being of the child and occurs unless restricted by the court for the child's protection.The CW worker shares the visitation plan for the child and the family with shelter staff.Visitation with family members is arranged as soon as possible after the child's removal from the home or as appropriate to the needs and specifics of the case while the child is in the shelter setting.Refer to OAC 340:75-6-30.The primary CW worker:

(1) informs the family of their visitation rights;

(2) approves visits and coordinates the visit arrangements with shelter staff;

(3) provides supervision, transportation, or other appropriate services to facilitate the visit; and

(4) coordinates with any other CW worker assigned to service an out-of-county child in the shelter, when applicable.

(c) Facilitation of telephone and mail contacts.The shelter CWS facilitates telephone and mail contacts between the child and the child's family and others identified by the CW worker.

2.Comprehensive service plan.

(a) The comprehensive service plan developed by the shelter Child Welfare specialist (CWS) identifies and includes:

(1) the resident's needs such as counseling, education, physical health, medical care, or recreation, in addition to basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, routine care, and supervision;

(2) strategies for meeting the resident's needs including instructions to staff.Individual health needs are addressed in the facility's medical plan;

(3) the estimated length of stay;

(4) goals and anticipated plans for discharge;

(5) visitation guidelines; and

(6) the names, signatures, and date, of the persons participating in the development of the comprehensive service plan.

(b) The shelter multidisciplinary treatment team conducts an initial staffing and reviews all information available concerning the newly admitted child to develop a comprehensive service plan.Each child's CW worker or designated liaison participates and contributes to the staffing.The shelter CWS:

(1) facilitates the participation of each child in the development of his or her plan;

(2) develops a comprehensive service plan that addresses the child's physical, emotional, educational, social, medical, and treatment needs;

(3) monitors the implementation of the plan;

(4) provides a copy of the comprehensive service plan to the child's CW worker ; and

(5) continues to gather information to update the plan of care for the child while the child is a shelter resident.

(c) The child's CW worker and a shelter CWS attend a shelter multidisciplinary treatment team staffing weekly to review the comprehensive service plan to:

(1) assess progress toward meeting the needs and treatment goals of the comprehensive service plan for each child;

(2) identify new treatment goals;

(3) investigate placement resources that may meet the child's individual needs.When the staffing determines placement above the family foster level is needed, a placement worksheet is completed by the child's CW worker and forwarded to the Placement Section of the Children and Family Services Division (CFSD); and

(4) provide a copy of the review to the child's CW worker.

3.Education.The shelter Child Welfare specialist (CWS) enrolls the child in school and assists school officials as necessary.

4.Training.OKDHS shelter staff receive annual training to promote the development of professional skills.

(1) Training hour requirements.Shelter administrative, social work, and direct care specialist (DCS) staff are required to attend 40 training hours annually.Support and clerical staff attend a minimum of 40 training hours annually.Training hour requirements are prorated for part-time and temporary staff based upon the average number of annual work hours.Training course content pertains to the role and responsibilities of the position.

(2) Mandatory training.Shelter staff receive the mandatory training described in this subsection.Shelter staff receive:

(A) an orientation to the shelter program within 30 days of employment.The orientation includes infectious disease control procedures, universal precautions and information regarding hepatitis B in addition to those topics listed in OAC 340:110-3-137(e)(6);

(B) annual training and are certified in the OKDHS behavior management control techniques;

(C) yearly certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR);

(D) yearly certification in first aid;

(E) a basic child care course approved by the Oklahoma Children's Agencies and Residential Enterprises, Incorporated (OKCARE); and

(F) childhood development, crisis management, and the effects of separation and loss training.

5.Mistreatment of shelter residents.Shelter staff receive training regarding Office of Client Advocacy policies found in OAC 340:75-2-3  concerning the abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of residents.

(1) Shelter staff report suspected abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of a resident in writing to the shelter administrator and document in the report observed injuries to the child.

(2) Shelter administration make a report to law enforcement when appropriate.

(3) The reporting obligations under 10A O.S. § 1-2-101 are individual and no employer, supervisor, or administrator may interfere with the reporting obligations of any employee or other person or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against the employee or other person who in good faith reports suspected child abuse or neglect, or who provides testimony in any proceeding involving child abuse or neglect.

(4) Disciplinary action is taken against shelter staff who engage in mistreatment of shelter residents.

6.Use of physical force.

(a) Shelter staff are authorized to use physical force only in situations outlined in Section 1-7-105 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-7-105).

(1) The use of physical force is preceded, if possible, by non-physical de-escalation methods using reasonable efforts to exercise authority by alternative means such as physical presence, gesture skills, and verbal interventions.

(2) When physical force is used, the least force necessary under the circumstances is employed.The physical restraint techniques learned in the behavioral management training are used.Use of excessive force may result in employee disciplinary action.

(b) Physical restraint.Restraint may only be used when less restrictive interventions have been attempted or when an immediate intervention is required to protect the resident, staff member, or others.The restraint technique used must be the least restrictive intervention that will be effective to protect the resident or others from harm.Restraint must be discontinued at the earliest possible time.A written incident report is completed within 24-hours of the use of physical restraint by the shelter employee performing the restraint.

7.Unauthorized use of force.Shelter staff do not engage in unauthorized use of force nor encourage or knowingly permit any person to use unauthorized force against a resident.Unauthorized use of force may result in employee disciplinary action, including discharge from employment.Unauthorized force includes:

(1) use of force as a punishment, sanction, or as a retaliatory response;

(2) threatening a resident with physical force which is unauthorized if used; and

(3) provoking a physical confrontation by taunting, harassing, or cursing a resident, or otherwise manipulating a resident to engage in activities which justify the use of physical force.

8.Mechanical restraints prohibited.Shelter staff are prohibited from using mechanical restraints to control a resident.

9.Grievance process.During the child's admission process to the shelter, the shelter Child Welfare specialist (CWS) informs the child of the grievance system utilizing Form OCA-GR-2, Notice of Grievance Rights – Minors in OKDHS Custody.Form OCA-GR-2 is signed by the resident or by the shelter CWS when the child is unable to sign.The shelter CWS facilitates the resolution of the child's grievance following the resolution protocol per OAC 340:2-3-14.

10.Resident's shelter record.

(a) Per OAC 340:110, the shelter CWS maintains a written record for each resident that includes:

(1) the resident's name, address, telephone number, Social Security number, sex, race, religion, birth date, and birth place;

(2) the admission assessment;

(3) authority to provide care;

(4) medical records;

(5) the comprehensive service plan;

(6) education information;

(7) reports of serious incidents including, but not limited to suicide attempts, injuries requiring medical treatment, runaway attempts, commission of a crime, and allegations of abuse, neglect, or abusive treatment.The report includes the date and time of the incident, the names of all persons involved, the nature of the incident, and the circumstances surrounding the incident;

(8) reports of separation, use of physical restraint, and other restrictions;

(9) signed documentation that the resident was provided written copies of the shelter's policies on resident's rights, grievance procedures, behavior management policies, trips away from the facility, and use of volunteers; and

(10) court-ordered or other communications restrictions.

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