Call DHS When Your Kid Is Hurt at Your Exes House
Video Transcribed: So your kid comes home from a visit with mom and tells you some story that really frightens you. Should you call DHS? My name is Brian L. Jackson. I’m an Oklahoma fathers’ rights attorney with dads.law, where fathers are not disposable. And I want to talk today about knowing when to call DHS in Oklahoma.
As a starting point, you should understand that anytime you have reason to believe child abuse may have occurred, you have a legal duty to report it to DHS Child Protective Services. It seems like it’s pretty straightforward, but then it becomes a question of, what do you need to report and what do you not need to report?
And really, to some extent, there’s a bit of subjectivity there. If you’re dealing with a situation where you’re thinking about calling up an attorney to go file and ask for emergency custody, you damn well need to call DHS, because that is a situation where there’s abuse or neglect.
So basically, if you think you have an emergency and you’re calling a lawyer up saying, Hey, I want custody now, that’s a call to DHS, and any lawyer who’s worth anything is going to tell you that, but you should know it anyway.
Essentially, to meet the standard for an emergency, if it is a legitimate emergency, you have to demonstrate that the child is in surroundings that generate an immediate threat to their health, welfare, or safety. And in that case, yes, that’s a DHS phone call.
Some specific examples of where you definitely want to call DHS. If your kid comes back with a bruise that is suspicious, call DHS. If they tell you they’ve been hit, call DHS. There are some exceptions to that, but it’s better to err on being safe than sorry.
If your kid ever tells you they’ve been touched inappropriately, then you definitely want to call DHS. You may also want to call law enforcement. If your kid comes back with a suspicious injury, call DHS.
Another situation where you’ll probably want to call DHS, and this tends to come up more with older kids, is if you find out about delinquency that occurred on the other parent’s watch, particularly certain types of delinquency.
For example, if your kid gets caught with the same brand of cigarettes as your ex smokes, if they get caught with weed and your ex has a pot card, those are circumstances you need to report because that situation could be evidence of contributing to the delinquency, and you need to report that. That is a form of child neglect.
If there is a disclosure made about the new boyfriend or significant other, that needs to be reported too, because again, it could be a failure to protect. Also running away is another situation. If a kid runs away, you need to call DHS. If they run away from you, you still need to call DHS.
The reason is, that again, first of all, when a child runs away, it’s a crime. It’s what’s called a status crime. And secondly, that’s dangerous behavior and it’s definitely something that needs to be reported. The child engages in an act of self-harm under the other party’s care, again, something you report.
And maybe that they did nothing wrong, but better to report it and have nothing come of it than not report it and end up being on the wrong end of a deprived proceeding because you failed to protect.
And in any of those situations, if you’re looking at a situation where you think you need to call DHS, you also need a good lawyer. And one place you can find a good lawyer is at dads.law, where fathers are not disposable. And guys, we will help you out.