“No excuses:” La. governor speaks out about recent incidents with Dept. of Children and Family Services

Dept. of Children and Family Services building
Dept. of Children and Family Services building(wafb)
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:13 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:35 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards says the handling of certain cases by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) represents a “real failure.”

A spokeswoman in his office told WAFB Tuesday, Aug. 16, that the governor spoke with lawmakers and DCFS’ head, Secretary Marketa Garner Walters, to discuss changes in “policies, procedures, and staffing.”

Agency leaders publicly identified staffing shortages, staffing changes, and heavy caseloads as reasons why certain cases have slipped through the cracks.

RELATED: After caretaker’s sexual abuse arrest, toddler’s overdose death, DCFS to face questions from lawmakers

The governor’s spokeswoman said his administration was aware of those staffing issues, but that there could be “no excuses.”

Among the recent cases that have drawn public criticism is the arrest of Michael Hadden, a Zachary man accused of sexually abusing children in his care.

Backlash to another case involving a toddler who died after multiple overdoses led to immediate policy changes in the department.

RELATED: DCFS making immediate changes after toddler’s death, amid sweeping investigation

State Representative Jason Hughes, (D)-New Orleans, has called for new leadership to take over at the agency.

THE INVESTIGATORS: Lawmaker calls on governor to make leadership change within DCFS

He previously sent a letter to the governor’s office asking for Walters to resign.

Walters responded at the time by saying she is aware of the request and has no comment.

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