Tecumseh Mother Upset Over Daughter's Custody Controversy With DHS

Monday, October 24th 2011, 5:57 pm
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

TECUMSEH, Oklahoma -- A Tecumseh, Oklahoma mother is outraged at the Department of Human Services. She said the state agency listed her daughter as being under their custody, even though she's been in her custody the whole time.

Natalie VanThof said more than a decade after her daughter was returned to her care, the state agency still had her listed as a ward of the state.

She said she recently found out about it when she went to apply for Sooner Care for her daughter, who is now 12, and was denied.

"I feel outraged!" said VanThof. "That's 12 years they haven't closed the case!"

VanThof said her daughter was taken into state custody for a short time when she was two months old. She said a relative gave the baby whiskey to help her sleep while teething.

But VanThof was granted custody back after performing all the necessary duties and parenting classes. But somehow that never got put into the DHS record.

According to DHS, the case has been closed. But a coding error showed Bailey as still being in DHS custody.

VanThof said she's tried to get DHS to get the error cleared up, but got the run-around. So she turned to News 9 for help.

"This does not happen a lot," said Mark Beutler, spokesperson for DHS. "This is something that happens on a very infrequent basis."

Beutler said it was a coding issue that caused the confusion, and that the case had been closed since 1999.

He said it has since been corrected. But VanThof said that's not good enough, and wanted to shed some light on the issue.

"That's ridiculous. This shouldn't happen at all," said VanThof. "They need to get people in there that know what they are doing."

DHS is checking into how the clerical error was made, and why it took so long to discover it.