Everybody in Oklahoma Is a Mandatory Reporter
Video Transcribed: When do police call DHS? Oklahoma Child Protective Services Attorney Ryan Cannonie, with CPS investigation defense, depending on the situation in your county, one of two things could happen when police get involved in a situation where there’s an alleged abuse or neglect of a child.
Now everybody, and like I said in another video, not just police, but everybody in Oklahoma is a mandatory reporter. Meaning that if you suspect abuse, you’re supposed to call the 1-800 number. If you don’t, it technically could be a misdemeanor against you. So the police are the same. Same as everyone else, they have to report child abuse if they believe it’s going on.
Now, the difference with police though is in certain counties, they have what they call a Multidisciplinary Task Force. It’s MDT. A lot of times they’re just called the MDT Team or the Child Abuse Task Force.
What that is is law enforcement, the District Attorney’s Office, DHS, mental health, grab bag of other agencies and different services within the community will meet and discuss different either investigations ongoing, or if it’s a situation where they’re looking to investigate or they’re looking for someone or they’re kind of hearing something about possible allegations to get more information.
It’s a way to kind of pool community resources. So that as they’re doing it, they’re all on the same side or at the same level. They all know about the same thing.
So if the community has one of those, if the county, technically it’s a county team, has one of those, then a lot of times law enforcement will have the on-call DHS investigator’s number. So when they roll up on the scene of something that they believe is child abuse, they’ll call the on-call person and call DHS out that way.
Now, the other option is for them to call that 1-800 screening number. If law enforcement’s calling, then most of the time they’re going to get to it. Now, law enforcement can also call and request emergency custody of children.
Technically, an assistant district attorney if there’s no way to contact a judge by statute can even give authority to take a child into custody in very, very, very limited circumstances. But that’s kind of the situation with law enforcement. They’re just like everyone else. They have to report it.
Unlike everyone else in certain counties, since they’re part of this child abuse team, they may not be calling the 1-800 number. They may be calling directly to whoever’s on-call, or they might just be calling DHS if it’s a small enough county that they actually know the other workers.
In that situation, DHS comes out, and as law enforcement is investigating, DHS will usually start their investigation as well. So if you have questions about this or anything involving deprived cases or DHS, then please give us a call, go to cpsinvestigationdefense.com, send us a web form, and we’ll try to answer your question best we can give us a call and we will have an Oklahoma CPS attorney reach you.