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Georgia Families Fear Foster Care System Will Separate Them Permanently

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Georgia families already experiencing the heartbreak and headache of dealing with the state’s foster care system, are especially desperate during the holiday season which is exacerbating the pain of being parents and children being separated at this time of year. to see the outcome of the federal probe as the U.S. Senate subcommittee held its fourth hearing on Thursday.

Many parents anxious about whether or not their pleas to overhaul Georgia’s foster care system are hopeful that a federal probe into the workings of the system and its failure to reunite families or protect children caught in the foster care maze.

In February 2023, after receiving reports from independent watchdogs, and other media outlets about the abuse and neglect of children in the care of Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS), U.S. Sens. A bipartisan inquiry was launched by Jon Ossoff (D-Georgia) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) to investigate the issue. Ossoff holds the position of chair for the human rights subcommittee of the U.S. Senate, and Blackburn is the ranking member of the same subcommittee.

Currently, there are over 11,000 children in Georgia’s foster care system. About 374 girls are commercially exploited for sex each month in GA.

One mother of three who no longer has custody of one of her daughters, stated that she has written to leaders at both the state and federal levels. According to her, her daughter’s medically complex needs prompted the state to investigate abuse claims. According to the state documents she provided, the case was closed and unsubstantiated. However, her daughter has not yet been returned to her care by the state.

She said that she had been praying repeatedly since it is difficult to exit the system once you are in it. The family reunification rate of DFCS in fiscal 2022 was 47.3 percent, and in 2023, it was 48 percent, although the agency does not comment on ongoing cases due to child privacy laws.

Atlanta News First Investigates discovered that government offices in Atlanta were being used to house teenagers without providing them with beds or access to education.

Carla Arbery, aunt of Ahmaud Arbery, a young man who was killed as a result of racial profiling and vigilant justice is assisting multiple families with their child welfare issues as an advocate. Ahmaud Arbery, her nephew, was killed while jogging in 2020. In Brunswick, Georgia, three neighbors were found guilty of committing a racially motivated assault.

Federal authorities are investigating the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), despite the implementation of new policy guidelines.

Despite the new policy guidelines, the federal probe into DFCS is still ongoing.

During a recent hearing, lawmakers were updated by the nation’s top leaders on child protection. Rebecca Jones Gaston serves as the Commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Jose Perez is the Deputy Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The leaders talked about two things: making safety plans a priority for state agencies and taking action to stop human trafficking.

HHS Commissioner Gaston pointed out that Georgia is among a small number of states that did not successfully finish a program improvement plan. Georgia DFCS was penalized for it, noting. The commissioner clarified that penalties frequently result in the reduction of an agency’s funding streams.

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