OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The owner of a child development center in Northeast Oklahoma City said he is upset Tuesday after he alleged missing money from DHS subsidy payments that he uses for his child development center and payroll.
According to Shun Walton, as of recently, DHS owes him a couple thousand dollars. There was a glitch in a system back in late October that processes provider payments, according to the Department of Human Services. The department said in a statement that “this issue was not with our agency, but with an outside vendor, but we worked closely with them to resolve the issue.”
However, Walton said he’s still not getting paid what he’s owed.
“We put our lives on the line to provide care for children and for parents so they can go to work and survive,” Walton said.
It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for the owner of Aunt Betty’s Child Development Center over the last month. Each day he and helpers take care of 20 children from infants to age 12.
“I’m in the hole,” he said.
The care center is DHS licensed. This means Walton is supposed to get weekly subsidy payments from the Department of Human Services. However, these payments have been few and far between since the glitch in late October.
“From October 27 to today, which is December 1, it has not been corrected for me,” Walton said.
DHS acknowledged the system glitch in their statement below:
“In late October, a glitch in the system that processes provider payments was brought to our attention. This issue was not with our agency, but with an outside vendor, but we worked closely with them to resolve the issue.
After resolution, approximately 25 providers of the over 3,000 across the state had remaining questions about specific children’s attendance in their programs and/or subsidy days missed. Our team is working diligently with these few providers to resolve their isolated issues and issue payments where necessary.
OKDHS is grateful for the childcare providers across the state who serve the children and families in their communities. Any questions regarding their subsidy payments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.”DHS
“I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m still lacking money at this time,” Walton said.
Payments eventually started to come back in.
“For me to get $139, I felt like I had hit the lottery,” Walton said.
Walton added that the payments have not been all that he’s due at a particular time. As of recently, he said he’s owed about a couple thousand dollars. According to Walton, that money is used for things like cleaning supplies, food for the children and even payroll.
“How can I take care of my family with an ‘I owe you’, when lights, water, gas, mortgage, credit cards are due,” he said.
Now, he said he just hoped he won’t have to close his businesses’ doors if this continues. According to Walton, it would leave some parents and kids who depend on that care with no place to go.
“I hope and pray it doesn’t have to end up that way,” Walton said.
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