DCFS officials set to go before lawmakers to discuss oversight

Officials with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) are set to go before lawmakers once again.
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 4:14 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2022 at 12:33 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Officials with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) are set to go before lawmakers once again. This time they are set to discuss oversight, specifically in the child welfare division.

The hearing is set for Tuesday, September 6, at 10 a.m. before the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare. The hearing is the only item on the agenda but it’s unclear what all will be discussed.

This comes amid a series of 9News Investigations into the agency for its mishandling of a case they were involved in where a 2-year-old overdosed three times and eventually died. The head of the agency, Marketa Garner Walters, admitted a case worker’s sick leave and a supervisor’s oversight may have played a big role in the toddler’s death. The caseworker has since been suspended and their supervisor resigned from DCFS right as leadership with the agency was preparing to fire her. The agency has also reviewed every case managed by those employees.

Walters admitted Friday, Aug. 19, staff did not follow up on Robinson’s case aggressively enough. In an exclusive interview with WAFB, Walters said the agency owns its part in the toddler’s death.

At least two workers with DCFS have also come forward to the 9News Investigators in recent weeks regarding allegations of mistreatment of staff by managers and supervisors within the agency. Among the allegations, those workers claimed that managers pressured workers to close cases quickly, they were asked to leave out certain information when writing reports and backlogged cases have become such an issue that some welfare checks are not carried out for months at a time.

In Baton Rouge, there are 29 vacancies for frontline workers who can carry cases. Some supervisors have also taken on cases and the state has even pulled in workers from other regions to help out.

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