DHS Still Asking El Reno Father For Child Support On Deceased Son
EL RENO, Oklahoma - The Department Of Health and Human Services is asking an El Reno father still in mourning to pay child support for his dead son.
Nearly nine months after the death the state is still sending child support bills to the father. James Akins tells News 9 his son died while in DHS custody. That was in December 2011. Every month since then he has gotten a bill for child support. And Akins says the state has not recognized the in-custody death
DHS removed Gordon and Brittany Akins from their father's home two years ago. The thought of that brings Brittany to tears and angers her dad.
"It's your child and even when they was taken away from me I was still there as much as I possibly could," said Akins.
Akins raised his kids as a single father.
"I'm getting bills," said Akins.
He says he was confused by the bills.
"I raised them. I was owed child support until they were taken away. It wasn't long after they were taken away that Gordon started running amok," said Akins.
Gordon fell into a deep depression. He didn't hop on a skateboard or visit with his sister to cope. Instead the 17 year old took his life.
"Don't ever choose this way. You will leave someone behind hurt," said Akins. "I couldn't be in his life because of child welfare and this is where he ended up."
Akins says to add to the pain the state never contacted him to tell him about his son's suicide.
"I found out on my way to work from one of Gordon's friends," said Akins.
The state did however send an invoice for service.
"It is up to a little over $700 a month and it keeps rising every month this whole past year since he has been gone. It won't stop," said Akins.
His last bill says ‘Our records indicate Gordon isn't attending high school, so you don't have to pay child support'.
"I don't think it's right. They need to leave it where it is. They have done enough damage to our family as it is."
Akins says the state still has not recognized the death. And although DHS won't comment on this case specifically, it points out if you must pay for kids while they are in state custody and if you owe them, the debt isn't forgiven even if the child passes away.
DHS says the child support obligation follows the child. And any child support that is past due will be owed until it's paid in full.