By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9
Three women spoke out against the Department of Human Services. They asked to have their identities concealed out of fear of retaliation by the DHS.
"My son currently has to go through physiological counseling for the things that happened to him in foster care," one of the three women said.
The three women want Oklahomans to hear their stories and help change the standards by which the DHS operates.
"If there's any way possible, I would like to spare another parent that pain of having their heart ripped out and torn in two," one woman said.
One of the women questioned why DHS convinced a judge to take her 18-month-old daughter, but left her other daughter in her home.
"My youngest daughter has not been in foster care, there has never been any investigations. Nothing," the first woman said. "They took one and left one."
Sixteen years later, her older daughter is still in DHS custody and pregnant, complicating their attempts to re-establish a relationship.
"We love one another," the first woman said. "But still...it's strained."
Another mother said DHS is conniving. She was already angry at DHS, after spending years living in the DHS foster care system. Now, she said the DHS is trying to take her children from her.
"There was a time when I didn't have anything at all to eat," the second mother said. "I would have to dig out the dumpster to eat...They wouldn't give me anything to eat."
The third woman blames DHS for causing her teen-aged son's emotional problems, by wrongly putting him in foster care for four months.
She said the DHS used bogus reports of neglect and abuse, reports its own investigators had determined to be unfounded, to take her son away. She said it's time to turn the tables on DHS.
"Because they have a right to come into my home and judge my parenting, and take my child," the third mother said, "but they are not responsible for any of the things that they do. It's infuriating."
All three women said it's time for DHS to be dismantled. They said they'd like to see the removal of the confidentiality that shields how it operates. Until that happens, they'll deal with the damage they claim DHS has inflicted on their families.
A spokesman for the DHS said it's illegal for any DHS employee to retaliate against anyone and that any employee caught doing so would also face a broad range of disciplinary actions.
He admitted DHS has made mistakes, and said the agency works hard to correct them once they're discovered.