Gov. Deal announces plan to improve DFCS

 

Governor Nathan Deal announced a new set of recommendations to improve the Department of Family and Children Services system in Georgia.

Deal, along with other officials, met at the State Capitol on Friday.

"Doing what's best for the children should always be what guides us as we move forward with implementing these policies," said Stephanie Blank with the Child Welfare Reform Council.

Over the years, there have been reports of children dying because of child abuse. Police say 12-year-old Eric Forbes had been severely abused by his father for several years. In 2013, attorneys for the Paulding County boy said he died while under the watch of DFCS.

"This is the population group that cannot defend themselves," attorney Eugene Felton said. "They can't ask to be removed from the home. DFCS is a very powerful agency. They have the power to remove children from a home."

Forbes is not the only child who has died. Investigators say Emani Moss and Markea Berry both starved to death.

Director of DFCS Bobby Cagle said the recommendations is the beginning of improving the child welfare system in Georgia.

"The protection of out most vulnerable children is more than a legal obligation," Cagle said. "It's a moral and ethical obligation that our state has."

The Georgia Child Welfare Reform Council announced recommendations that include recruiting and retaining quality foster families, and retraining the most qualified employees.

They also want to enhance the sharing of important information between DFCS and other agencies.

"I intend to pursue the recommendations by way of implementation in this upcoming session," Deal said. "We will do so through policies, legislation and through budgetary initiatives."

In addition to the recommendations that were presented, the council said it plans to present another set in the future.

Copyright 2015 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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