Several people play significant roles in the Juvenile case process. Those roles are described in the following paragraphs.
Assistant District Attorney Role
The Assistant District Attorney (ADA) in the county of jurisdiction is the prosecutor and is responsible for filing the deprived petition on behalf of the State and representing the State in the court action. The ADA is also responsible for serving the appropriate parties with the deprived petition, which should include a request for the establishment of paternity and child support. The ADA pursues the State’s interests and controls the direction the case will take; i.e., whether the State will pursue reunification between the child and parent or terminate parental rights. The ADA also has input into the terms and conditions of the treatment plan.
Attorney for the Child
The attorney for the child is usually a court appointed public defender (PD). They protect the legal rights of the child. PDs gather as much information on the child as possible through court reports, therapists, CASA (court appointed special advocate), foster parents, and interviews with the child. If the child is unable to articulate their wants, the PD represents the best interest of the child. If the child is able to articulate their wants, the PD represents the express interest of the child. The PD meets with the child to verify visitation, placement, well‐being, etc. and explains the deprived court system to the child.
Deprived Court Judge Role
While the ADA determines how the State will pursue the case, the Court is the final decision maker regarding factual disputes and whether the child will remain in OKDHS custody. Actions requested by the ADA must be approved by the Court.
CSS Role in Deprived Child Actions
CSS attorneys are authorized to represent the State of Oklahoma in the deprived action regarding child support issues. OKDHS is a necessary party because public assistance money or medical support is provided by OKDHS for the benefit of the child. For purposes of establishing paternity and child support or for enforcement of a child support order, CSS is authorized to inspect juvenile court records without a court order.
Child Welfare Worker Role
The Child Welfare (CW) worker’s role is to make recommendations and provide information to the ADA and Court regarding placement, treatment plans, visitation, etc. The CW worker is also responsible for making sure the child is in an appropriate placement while in OKDHS custody. The CW worker does not have ultimate control of the deprived case but acts as a witness and provides detailed information about the deprived case to the court and the ADA.
Custody Specialist Role
The Custody Specialist is a family support employee who enters information from the CW case on PS2 screens to open a foster care medical case. This medical case triggers the referral to CSS. The Custody Specialist receives initial information as an automated referral from the KIDS system but many updates must be provided manually from the CW worker. A limited number of Custody Specialists work statewide to update information for multiple counties.
If coding on PS2 causes an error in OSIS, the Custody Specialist must make the correction. Contact the custody specialist by e‐mail to request the F130 block be updated as it has an effect on child support cases cross‐referencing correctly.