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Child advocate's sudden departure raises new DFCS questions

11:25 AM, Dec 5, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Emani Moss: One Month Later

Emani Moss, 10

ATLANTA -- It's been one month since the burned and emaciated body of 10-year-old Emani Moss was found inside a trash can.

Despite promises to hold those accountable for warning signs missed, there's been no report of any employee within the Gwinnett County office being fired, demoted or even retrained.

Two Cobb County employees, a case manager and supervisor, were dismissed after the investigation into Eric Forbes, a 12 year old who died just weeks prior of battered child syndrome.

The only other personnel change announced was that of Tonya Boga, the head of the watchdog agency created to oversee DFCS.

For weeks now, 11Alive has talked with case workers and advocates about what DFCS really needs to succeed.  A common thread in their answers is always: stability.

The division itself has had eight different directors in ten years. Sharon Hill has only been at the post four months. And now Boga, the director of the Office of the Child Advocate, has left, weeks before the end of her 3-year term.

Governor Nathan Deal says he had just formed a committee to renew her term or choose her replacement, when she announced her resignation. He insists she wasn't forced out.

"There was no indication that that was the case. It was purely her personal decision," said Deal.

Deal says he wants to give the new director more power and perhaps more money to keep watch over DFCS.

"I think any time we have an extra set of eyes that are looking on a situation perhaps we can avoid bad things happening," said Deal.

The governor's office has appointed Thomas Worthy, a member of his deputy counsel to fill the post until a new director is named.

After several people tried to report problems through state's new centralized intake system, Boga promised to push for real time monitoring of those calls, to ensure they were handled correctly.

DFCS says it does record every call that comes in, so that if a complaint is made, it can be pulled and reviewed.

A division spokesperson also said that every report that comes from the call center that is either screened out or referred to family support is reviewed by a specialist.

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