I-TEAM: New temporary leader for DCFS lays out future plans to lawmakers
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Terri Ricks, the new temporary head of the troubled Department of Children and Family Services went before lawmakers today to lay out her future plans for the agency. Lawmakers pressed her, asking tough questions on oversight for the agency.
Ricks is working to right the ship not long after two high-ranking leaders at the department announced they were heading for the door in recent weeks. Secretary Marketa Walters and Deputy Secretary Rhenda Hodnett both said they were retiring at the end of the year amid the agency’s recent challenges.
Two children have recently died from an overdose in the Baton Rouge area while on the state’s watch and a third child also died earlier this year in Houma. Ricks touched on those children and how the agency plans to ensure the agency does better going forward.
“Ezekiel Harry from Houma, Mitchell Robinson and Jahrei Paul from Baton Rouge...these children represent all the children in Louisiana that we are concerned for,” said Ricks.
Ricks says they have put a number of things in place to make sure future cases do not fall through the cracks.
“We’re concerned and are looking at what happened with them, and we’re looking at all the children that are in Louisiana so that we could figure out how to address what brings the children into our caseload,” said Ricks.
The acting secretary says they are planning to create several new positions and reviewing policies to make sure cases are handled and followed up on from the moment they come in.
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