Two toddlers were found wandering the streets of Tulsa alone this week, in separate incidents. and three other children - ages 5, 4 and 2 - were found alone in an apartment. Those cases are prompting a warning from Tulsa's District Attorney.
“Any time a parent fails to properly supervise a child and/or fails to arrange proper supervision, they are potentially committing the crime of child neglect,” said District Attorney Tim Harris.
Earlier, another Tulsa radio station reported, Oklahoma law does not set out specific age requirements for caregivers. Harris says, however, there are requirements for “proper supervision.”
“We have requested and will review the facts and evidence of each incident on a case by case basis and determine whether criminal charges are warranted, or a juvenile deprived child petition is potentially appropriate,” Harris said.
“We want to be sure parents know and understand that they have a legal duty to protect and supervise their children,” Harris said.
In addition, Oklahoma law establishes a Department of Human Services Child Abuse hotline (800-522-3511) and requires “every person having reason to believe that a child under the age of 18 years is a victim of abuse or neglect shall report the matter promptly to the Department of Human Services…”
“Protection of children has always been a top priority in the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office,” Harris said. “In fact, we all have a duty to protect these most vulnerable citizens.”