Kids raped by foster parent, deputies say in shocking arrest: DCFS at center of new controversy
BATON ROUGE – A foster parent is accused of sexually abusing three children who were left in his care, according to an arrest report obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit.
Michael Hadden, 52, was arrested this week on rape and molestation of a juvenile charges.
Hadden raped a 14-year-old boy, East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies said, over a two-year period. It appeared the victim was a foster child Hadden was tasked with raising.
The victim said Hadden had sex with him “many times,” most recently in February 2022.
Another child, now 15 years old, also recalled an instance where he found alcoholic drinks in the fridge and was then forced to perform oral sex while he still felt "drunk." Other foster children were living in the home on E. Plains Port Hudson Road in Zachary, including a child with "severe autism" and other mental health disorders who alleged he was molested by Hadden.
The property appeared to be a shady mess, when a WBRZ camera crew recorded video Friday. Click HERE for more concerns about the property.
Deputies also wrote “other children in the home were engaging in sexual acts” and that Hadden would watch.
At some point after February, the Department of Children and Family Services removed children from Hadden’s care. It was not clear when, though deputies wrote DCFS previously removed the victim from Hadden’s supervision briefly in January 2021 after a “separate investigation” but was returned.
DCFS has been the focus of widespread anger after the WBRZ Investigative Unit reported first earlier this week, it failed to remove a child from its mother’s care in an unrelated case where the child was routinely overdosing. The child eventually died. WBRZ reported, there’s a state investigation into the DCFS failure.
On Thursday, Governor John Bel Edwards said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters was "not waiting" on the investigation to make policy changes in wake of the toddler's death.
"Obviously nobody ever wants anything like this to happen, not so much because you’re worried about a black mark on the agency. You just don’t want these things to happen, period," Edwards told reporters Thursday when asked whether he still has confidence in DCFS. "It's a big agency. There's an awful lot of work that they do with cases all over the state."
In the foster parent case, DCFS said it was just as shocked and never knew what was going on. But, deputies wrote, “Hadden has been accused of having sexual relationships with several of his foster and adoptive children.” At least two other investigations are underway with similar complaints as the 14-year-old, deputies said.
In a statement just before the end of the business day Friday, DCFS issued a statement on behalf of Secretary Marketa Garner Walters:
"We learned through media accounts of the horrific allegations involving an individual who was a foster caregiver.
Due to confidentiality laws, we cannot answer questions about a specific case. But it is important for the public to know that allegations like this involving foster parents are extremely rare and are not indicative of our foster parents, most of whom open their homes and dedicate their lives to helping kids.
All foster caregivers must meet a rigorous standard that includes passing a federal criminal background check, a child abuse/neglect background clearance and an extensive reference check.
On a daily basis, DCFS works hand-in-hand with law enforcement and the courts to make decisions about keeping children safe."
WBRZ learned Hadden was paid $19/day per child in his foster care. That would be nearly $7,000 per year per child. The state would not elaborate on what Hadden was paid, which could have been as much as $20,000 if all three kids were with Hadden at the same time.
"I can’t comment on the total amount a foster parent would receive," an agency spokesperson told WBRZ Friday.
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