Our local DFCS office is falling apart

Any time an audit comes out with the words “immediate action should be taken,” it’s not going to be good.

This is especially true when the subject involves the state’s most important resource — our children. Yet the Georgia Office of the Child Advocate highlighted a series of problems with the Coweta County Department of Family and Children’s Services.

Among the more damning charges were inadequate staffing levels, a high turnover rate, and many problems cited in a 2012 audit that remain unfixed.

That is unacceptable. According to its own website, DFCS’s mission includes the following: “investigates child abuse; finds foster homes for abused and neglected children; helps low income, out-of-work parents get back on their feet; assists with childcare costs for low-income parents who are working or in job training; and provides numerous support services and innovative programs to help troubled families.”

That’s an incredibly noble, important and difficult job description. It takes a special type of person, and for some reason, those people aren’t staying at the county branch.

“Serious attention should be given to recruiting and retaining staff in Coweta County, to include but not limited to recruiting people who will commit to remaining in Coweta rather than transferring to other counties after being trained due to location and any other issue that is contributing to high turnover,” the audit said.

The audit went so far as to say the state should send in workers “from other counties and/or the state office on a temporary basis.”

The problem with high turnover in the Coweta office is a major red flag. When employees continually leave, it’s almost always a sign of problems at the top. We suggest the Child Advocate’s office continue to look at those who lead the local office. They could start with interviewing those who left to find out why.

It’s one thing to bring in more people “on a temporary basis” to get the office back on its legs. But if they can’t keep good people, something else is amiss, and it is paramount the state find out what that is.



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