Losing your child(ren) to the custody of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) is traumatic. But sometimes that is necessary when conditions in the home are critically sub-par or the parents are otherwise unfit.
Parents with kids in DFCS custody should, however, be assured that their kids are all right and protected from further harm under these arrangements. But according to recent news reports, that is apparently not a given.
Recently, investigators discovered records indicating that over 40% of caseworkers who faced disciplinary actions in the past four years at the agency were found to be either inefficient in carrying out their caseworker duties or were outright negligent.
At least one child, a 10-year-old girl, whose living circumstances had been reported to DFCS died at the hands of her stepmother. She had been starved to death and battered by the woman who later received a death sentence for her actions.
After the fatal incident occurred in 2013, changes were reportedly implemented at the state agency that would assure the problem didn't repeat itself. Yet, after spending millions of dollars and going through three different directors for the DFCS, records indicate that during the past five years, over 800 workers with the agency faced censure for their (in)actions.
Records that were obtained under Georgia's open records law by The Reveal indicated that at least two children died as a result of caseworkers' negligence.
In November 2013, a caseworker was accused of "Work performance and negligence & inefficiency. Failure to make contact/home visit with 5 foster children . . . [in] . . . DFCS custody. One . . . died before they were seen."
Not even a year later, another caseworker was cited for "negligence in the performance of assigned duties- failure to give staff member clear and accurate guidance on a case, which resulted in a child's death."
These results show the worst-case scenario results of caseworker negligence. But many other violations did not result in fatalities but were extremely detrimental to already at-risk children the agency is tasked with monitoring.
If you are a parent whose child(ren) were taken into custody by the DFCS, you may want to retain an Atlanta child custody attorney to fight for your rights to parent your children.