U.S. Senate Human Rights Subcommittee Chairman Jon Ossoff is launching a bipartisan inquiry following reports that children in the care of Georgia’s state government have been subjected to abuse and neglect.
Last week, Chairman Ossoff and Ranking Member Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) demanded answers from the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) on their ability to keep children safe under their care.
“As leaders, we have no higher obligation than to protect those who cannot protect themselves – especially children at risk of abuse or neglect,” Human Rights Subcommittee Chairman Ossoff and Ranking Member Blackburn wrote. “Our nation’s foster care systems implicate the most fundamental human rights of American families and children, including their safety, dignity, and wellbeing. Yet recent official and press reports raise serious concerns about the ability of Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children in its care.”
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an investigation by the Georgia Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) into DFCS revealed widespread, systemic breakdowns within the foster care system, including caseworkers not adequately responding to child abuse cases and that placement services for victims of human trafficking, sexual abuse, or physical abuse were often “inadequate” or “inappropriate.”
Sens. Ossoff and Blackburn also demanded answers on recent reporting by WSB-TV in Atlanta that DFCS and the state of Georgia spent $28 million last year alone to house children in hotels, often for months at a time.
Sen. Ossoff continues to champion efforts to keep children across Georgia safe. Last year, Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan bill to protect children from online predators and sexual exploitation passed the U.S. Senate, taking it a step closer to becoming law.