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Child deaths rise in Georgia state report

Friday, Aug 8, 2014 4:37 PM
Last updated 11:01 PM
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ATLANTA — State figures released Friday show that 180 children died last year while under the supervision of the Division of Family and Children Services.

That represents an increase of 28 deaths, or 18 percent, over 2012, but advocates and agency officials caution against drawing immediate conclusions because this year’s report is more comprehensive.

“This data collection improved from year over year, so I wouldn’t draw the conclusion it was that exact percentage in increase,” said Bobby Cagle, the agency’s interim director. “However, in looking at the data, homicides are most definitely our biggest concern. We will be working more closely with law enforcement and also training our staff in better evidence-collection methods.”

Homicides increased from 22 in 2012 to 26 in 2013. Deaths reported as resulting from natural causes rose from 55 to 76.

“It is a major mistake to jump to the conclusion that because a report comes to DFCS (about suspected abuse or neglect) that we have the ability to prevent the death,” Cagle said.

Melissa Carter, the director of the Barton Chile Law and Policy Center at Emory University, agrees with that warning, noting that most states are showing similar increases because of better reporting.

“Be careful in drawing these causal connections,” she told members of the Children’s Advocacy Network.

Nearly half of those dying were younger than a year old. Most of them were either premature, born with a serious medical condition or both, and 12 never left the hospital.

Nearly one-quarter died in their sleep from being rolled over by a parent, sudden infant death syndrome or were smothered by blankets.

To address an overall problem of infant mortality, the Department of Public Health has set up prenatal classes in local health departments and is working with physicians to address pregnant women’s smoking, diet and general health.

State auditors warned last year that social workers were swamped with too many cases, some juggling more than 100 each. The Legis­lature approved hiring 525 in the fiscal year that began last month, and before the first 175 started the job, Gov. Nathan Deal approved 100 more to bring the total of new caseworkers this year to 625.

The 180 deaths that were included in Friday’s figures included all that were part of families that the agency had had some contact with in the previous five years. Only 42 percent of the deaths were in families with an open case.

Often the contact was before the victim was born or maybe because another child in the family wasn’t attending school.

Comments (14) Add comment
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corgimom
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corgimom 08/08/14 - 05:32 pm
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This story is poorly written.

This story is poorly written.

How did those 1400 children die? Was it natural deaths, abuse, homicide, accidents, what?

Is this story saying that 1400 children in Georgia died in 2012 from neglect and abuse?

AC, can you clarify this?

Sweet son
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Sweet son 08/08/14 - 05:54 pm
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Say it Ain't So!

We all already knew that the DFCS is nothing but buffoons and somebody over there should be in jail over a stat like this. Wasn't it interesting that there were at least 3 quotes telling us not to judge them too hastily. How in the hell could you do anything but judge them negatively when they are not professional enough to keep children in their care from dying. No, don't tell me how to judge you because you don't even deserve a judgement except from the one who made you and I'm sure He is not happy with YOU!

Am I mad about this? You're damn right I am because I personally knew a beautiful young lady that YOU let die!

Walter Jones
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Walter Jones 08/08/14 - 08:05 pm
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Responding to your question

I'm sorry the story wasn't clear to you.

The 1,400 children died from all possible causes. They are not limited to any one type. The figure was included in the story to provide perspective.

Out of 1,400 Georgia children who died from various reasons, less than 10 percent had any connection to DFCS.

While the reasons for all child deaths in 2013 was not the topic of the report that I was writing about, you can see details on the state's Oasis website, http://oasis.state.ga.us/CHNADashboard/Default.aspx

A state with a population of nearly 10 million has children dying every day, unfortunately. So, it isn't unexpected that some of the children in DFCS' supervision or recent supervision would also die.

I hope that answers your questions.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 08/09/14 - 08:13 am
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We're from the Government and here to help.

In a growing number of situations DFCS's is at best debatable better alternative and that depends on the DFCS location.
Because each area seems to operate differently and to different standards.

Example: Atlanta vs Augusta vs. Macon vs. smaller areas

But no matter how you slice it,
GA. DFCS has had a extremely long and dark history of problems that have been just as extremely long in taking to be corrected.

Over the years:
* DFCS has lost and/or still never found children in their care.

* DFCS has accidentally placed kids with mental cases and yes even a few times with sex predators.

* DFCS has had kids murdered and a few mental case kids cause harm to the foster parents, or the foster parent kids.

Yes the list is endless, but given the numbers, urgency of placement and the situations and problems that they work with it is amazing many more don't die.

Here are a few of the debatable DFCS figures for previous years:
===========================

2011, 92+ deaths (GA DFCS could not give a full accounting),

2012 120 deaths, but according to an audit it was 154.

Note: in 2012, 24 children died by homicide or suicide of what record DFCS hey released state, 13 suffocated in bed and 7 drowned,

CobaltGeorge
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CobaltGeorge 08/09/14 - 08:25 am
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nocnoc

I think you should take over Walter Jones job. You do a better job giving details.

Sweet son
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Sweet son 08/09/14 - 08:45 am
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Darn guys Walter jumped in to defend and clarify his story

and you are still popping him. LOL! :) Even though he is a Morris employee he is not allowed to post to the AC very often so we have to endure him when he shows up. Good morning noc noc/North Georgia and my friend George!

Sweet son
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Sweet son 08/09/14 - 08:47 am
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seenitB4
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seenitB4 08/09/14 - 09:52 am
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sweetson

Looks like dam to me....don't cover it up, we know ya cuss some..:)

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/09/14 - 10:11 am
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1,400

I first read this story a few minutes ago. After reading Corgimom's comment (and Walter Jones' response) I went back up to read the story again. After three tries, I still cannot find the number 1,400 in the story. Am I going crazy?

corgimom
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corgimom 08/09/14 - 12:57 pm
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LL, it's been removed. No,

LL, it's been removed.

No, you are not going crazy.

And thank you, Walter Jones, for clarifying that.

corgimom
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corgimom 08/09/14 - 01:01 pm
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Sweet Son, don't blame

Sweet Son, don't blame DSS.

They do the best they can under terrible conditions.

There just aren't enough good foster care homes.

Nobody can ever predict future behavior of others.

They do the best they can, but a lot of foster kids are abused. Or they are returned to families because there is such a shortage of foster homes.

corgimom
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corgimom 08/09/14 - 01:02 pm
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Sweet Son, if you really want

Sweet Son, if you really want to blame somebody, blame the sorry adults that like to torture and abuse kids.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 08/09/14 - 02:09 pm
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Mr. Jones is a good writer and provided some good details.

But due to external issues, like any media outlet, he is limited to time, space, and legal issues.

This where we as commentators come in.
We get to help the public with additional digging and the releasing of facts that AC "paper" does not have the space to print nor the time to vett to the standards to make a lawyer happy.

Less we forget the Children’s Rights Federal court Lawsuit on March 2010???

Here is the PDF covering the 2013 Deaths
The data included in the 2013 Child Fatality Analysis details
the manners and causes of death for children whose families had
been the subject of a report or investigation of maltreatment
in Georgia in the last five years.

See: Report Page 7 for Richmond Co. area district
We are lower than previous years.

GA overall :
Ages 1 month to 1 year old account for 58% of all deaths
and 42% of all deaths were natural causes.

http://dhs.georgia.gov/sites/dhs.georgia.gov/files/2013%20Child%20Fatali...

BTW: Like NEWS and I love digging into deeper facts.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 08/09/14 - 02:15 pm
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BTW: DeKalb, Fulton

Ranked #1 with 25 deaths
Gwinnett & COBB - RANKED LAST
Richmond tied for 2nd to last with 4 other regions and 35 other counties.

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