Foster over Family--it is real interesting
Posted: Tue May 01, 2007 2:43 pm
take a look at this. it is a report that states that the state of georgia is in favor of fostering children than keeping them with family.
Posted: Tue May 01, 2007 2:44 pm
just in case link didnt work
ATLANTA — A national organization Monday criticized Georgia’s child protection watchdog for favoring foster care over keeping kids with their parents, even as Gov. Sonny Perdue formed a committee to choose her successor.
Dee Simms, head of the state Office of Child Advocate, is working more than six months past the expiration of her second three-year term. Her job status was further complicated last month when Perdue, who reappointed Simms in 2003, asked her to take over Fulton County’s child welfare office. The governor’s offer came after Simms published a highly critical audit of the Fulton County operation that led to the firing of its director.
A 36-page report released by the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform credits Simms for exposing what was going on inside the Fulton agency, which included leaving abused children with their parents and placing children with people who had not been screened adequately.
But it also accused the Office of Child Advocate of pushing an ideological agenda that supports removing children from their parents and placing them in foster care.
Richard Wexler, the coalition’s executive director, suggested that Simms leans that way because she served as a prosecutor of juvenile cases before taking her current position.
“OCA’s good intentions...are outweighed by a profound bias against families,” he said. “It is an extremist view, a one- size-fits-all approach that fails to recognize that every child and every family is different.”
Wexler said children who are physically or sexually abused by their parents should be removed from their homes.
But he said the report found too many instances where children were removed from poor families where there had been no allegations of abuse or neglect.
Simms took issue with the report’s findings.
She said her office has gone out of its way to address the poverty issue.
“I do think there are times when it’s difficult to distinguish between poverty and neglect,” she said. “We’ve done workshops on that to help attorneys and caseworkers understand the difference.”
Simms denied her office is biased toward putting children into foster care.
Indeed, Norman Adams, executive director of the Georgia Association of Homes and Services for Children, said he has seen cases where Simms has fought to keep local child protection offices from taking children away from their parents.
“Their mission is to protect kids.,” Adams said. “I have seen her do nothing but that.”
As for the charge that Simms has a prosecutorial bias, Simms said as many of her staff have backgrounds with social services agencies as come from law enforcement.
The report also charged that Simms has too much authority. It recommended creating a governing board for the agency that could hold the child advocate more accountable. Simms supported the idea, saying a governing board might help make her office more independent.
Simms said Monday she would like to stay on a child advocate. The three-member nominating committee announced Monday by Perdue will recommend at least three candidates for the post.
The panel could include Simms on that list, Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said.
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