Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Resigns
The embattled secretary of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has resigned.
Governor John Bel Edwards has announced he accepted the resignation today of Marketa Garner Walters.
As we have followed this case, there have been multiple stories that have arisen about people making complaints about DCFS, but some of the complaints were never followed up on according to authorities.
This comes on the heels of three children dying despite complaints made by people about circumstances.
In June of this year, three complaints had been made to DCFS about the home life of 2-year-old Mitchell Robinson. No one from DCFS ever made contact with the family to find out the circumstances of the child. He died after a fentanyl overdose.
Also this summer in July, a 2-year0old child in Houma, Ezekial Harry was found inside a bag in a trash can. In this case, DCFS opened up an investigation into the child's living conditions after a complaint had been made.
On Halloween, a 20-month-old child named Jahrei Paul was found dead from acute fentanyl poisoning. About a week and a half before a report was made to the agency by someone saying drugs were being used in his home.
The Legislature held hearings in Baton Rouge to ask the secretary about problems within the department. At that time, she testified that there were 500 openings within the department.
At the time, Secretary Walters testified that burnout among existing case workers, low wages, and the inability to find people willing to work at the department were some of the obstacles she said the department was facing.
In his press release sent out today, Governor Edwards says Deputy Secretary Terri Porche Ricks will fill in on an interim basis. He adds,
We have engaged a third-party expert organization to do a top-to-bottom review of DCFS and make recommendations on improvements to policies, practices, and personnel that can be made to ensure we are serving the children and families of Louisiana in the manner they deserve.