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Monday, January 25, 2010 - 8:14am

Federal Monitors: 'High' Abuse Rate For Some State Foster Kids

Foster children in Fulton and DeKalb counties are under a high rate of abuse and neglect while in state care – that conclusion comes from federal monitors.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports monitors found in the first six months of last year, 25 of about 2,300 children were abused or neglected in those systems.

The report says the systems have "no higher obligation" than to ensure these children's safety. The systems are overseen by the state Division of Family and Children Services.

A 2005 lawsuit settled by Georgia called for reforms—including the appointment of independent monitors by a federal judge to review the performance of those county systems. That suit was filed by advocacy group Children's Rights Inc.

DFCS officials say the agency has added staff and resources and should see improvement in the next report. In particular, state officials tell the AJC it is more closely monitoring a particular area of concern involving private agencies that contract with the state to provide foster care.

DFCS is set to meet with Children's Rights officials today.