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Governor's office, DCFS remains silent after recent child protection failures

3 months 1 week 4 days ago Monday, August 15 2022 Aug 15, 2022 August 15, 2022 10:18 PM August 15, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - One week after a tense meeting with state lawmakers, there is still silence from the Department of Children and Family Services and the governor's office after recent questions concerning if case workers failed the children they are supposed to protect. 

“Out of all of our state agencies, DCFS, in my opinion, is the least transparent,” state representative Jason Hughes said.

Last Thursday, Hughes called for the immediate removal of DCFS Secretary Marketa Walters and others who lead the troubled agency.

“I made them in a public forum through Twitter, and I also made my requests known to the office of the governor,” Hughes said. 

But not much has come out from the governor's office.

“On Thursday, I received an acknowledgement from the governor's senior special assistant stating that they were in receipt of my correspondence and stating that they would work to set up a meeting with the governor,” he said. 

The governor's office did not respond to WBRZ’s multiple requests for information Monday, but fewer than two weeks ago, Governor Edwards promised to get to the bottom of what happened.

“We're going to see exactly what went wrong and what was known or should of known and acted upon or not, and we will then obviously take every action possible to make sure something like this never happens again,” Governor John Bel Edwards said.

DCFS came under scrutiny earlier this month after 2-year-old Mitchell Robinson III died from a fentanyl overdose despite his mother being reported to DCFS three times before. 

Shortly after, 52-year-old Michael Hadden was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing his foster sons.

“DCFS has a habit of only communicating when summons to the Capitol, so I am not aware of any current investigation. But I do hope that's taking place, and I certainly hope that the governor is really looking into the inner workings of DCFS and has his pulse on what is taking place,” Hughes said. 

After the hearing, Secretary Walters did say pending an investigation disciplinary action would be taken against someone, But the agency and the governor's office have not told us anything else.

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