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Georgia's DFCS allegedly confiscated children for federal dollars

Georgia's DFCS allegedly confiscated children for federal dollars

In Camden County, Georgia, six families have joined with libertarian activist Scott Cohen's “You Are the Power” initiative to highlight a major concern: the Division of Child and Family Services (DFCS ) has been accused of needlessly seizing children in order to receive more feds. financing This issue, which has caused immense distress to many families, was addressed at a press conference on May 13, 2024, in front of the Juvenile Court building in Woodbine, Georgia.

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During the press conference, Corey Sullivan, one of the affected parents, spoke about his ordeal. He and his wife, Diana, are fighting to regain custody of their three children after they were charged with child abuse when their baby was found to have multiple fractures. The Sullivans maintain there is a medical explanation for their son's injuries and have spent more than $80,000 on their legal battle. “My biggest complaint is that we have so much medical evidence in our favor from when she was pregnant with our daughter until now and they don't want to hear it,” Sullivan said. “They have an agenda.”

The families, represented by attorney Kevin Gough, also highlighted broader problems within DFCS. Gough mentioned a case involving a DFCS employee who had been reported for inappropriate behavior with children but had not been charged. Additionally, another DFCS employee, Donnelle Hill, was arrested in April on charges of aggravated sodomy. According to a police report, Hill allegedly propositioned a mother to perform oral sex to avoid losing her children.

Research by US Senator Jon Ossoff found that between 2018 and 2022, 1,790 children were reported missing in DFCS care, and 410 of those children were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Those findings were part of a larger investigation into systemic failures within DFCS, which revealed that the agency failed to adequately assess and respond to threats to children's safety in 84 percent of the cases reviewed. Senator Ossoff emphasized that this issue is not just about statistics, but about real, vulnerable children who depend on state agencies for their safety.

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The allegations against DFCS also include claims that the agency operates as a “discount adoption agency,” which prioritizes adoption over reunification because of financial incentives. In Camden County, the reunification rate is alarmingly low, with only 10-11% of children returning to their birth families, compared to a national average of nearly 50%. This financial incentive creates a perverse system where the more adoptions DFCS facilitates, the more federal dollars they receive, making child removal a lucrative business.

As these six families continue to fight for justice and reform, the allegations against DFCS demand urgent attention. Practices of unnecessarily seizing children for economic gain not only violate the rights of families but also cause profound harm to the most vulnerable members of society. It is imperative that policymakers and the public examine and address these issues to ensure that the well-being of children and families is truly prioritized.

For more details, see Senator Jon Ossoff's reports and findings research.

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