DHS Places Three Kids With Felon, Police Concerned
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City Police Department officials say three children could be in danger after Oklahoma's Department of Human Services (DHS) placed the kids with a convicted felon Wednesday.
The children were taken from a southwest Oklahoma City home after officers served a search warrant on the property. The man, who was still in control of the kids as of late Thursday, has a history of attempted murder and drug distribution, according to police.
The state's largest police department and DHS officials are not seeing eye-to-eye on the case.
Methamphetamine, marijuana and 11 guns were found at the home, according to details in a police report. Officers say some of the guns were loaded and all were accessible to three small children.
"One of the adults was actually staying in one of the children's rooms with weapons," said Capt. Dexter Nelson with Oklahoma City Police.
Paul Nelson Hayes, 59, was arrested at the home. Others may still be charged, according to Nelson. Police say they wanted to get the children help, so they called DHS. However, officers say they are not sure if the state agency did any good.
"The officers did have some concern with the person that the children were released to because that person also has a criminal record," Nelson said.
Police say all three children were released to the father of one of the children who has a history of attempted murder and drug distribution. DHS originally said two of the three kids actually belonged to the man.
DHS spokeswoman Sheree Powell says the agency's procedure allows workers to place children with biological parents who have criminal records. However, the procedure does not explain why the agency placed all three kids with the felon, as police reported.
In a later statement, DHS disagreed with police saying the man is the biological father of all three children. The state agency also says it is working with the Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office as it assesses the situation.
Police confirm they do have the authority override DHS and take children into protective custody. However, Nelson says it is the policy of the Oklahoma City Police Department to allow DHS to handle these situations.