LOGANVILLE, Ga. (AP) - The father of a 7-year-old girl had to scramble after a foster care worker took her - and not another girl with a similar name - from their school in suburban Atlanta.
Sean Harris says he panicked when he went to pick up his daughter from after-school care and discovered she wasn't there.
Then he went to her school, Rosebud Elementary, and was told she was released to a state employee. That worker was supposed to retrieve a different girl who has the same last name and a first name that shares all but one letter. The Division of Family and Child Services blames the mixup on Gwinnett County Schools, whose spokeswoman Sloan Roach says the family's concerns are understandable.
"This is a very serious situation and this family's concerns are understandable," Roach said in a statement. "In addition to investigating this incident, the school system is reviewing its processes for releasing students to the Division of Family and Children Services, making sure these processes are being followed, and will be working with this agency to ensure this does not happen again."
Harris said his daughter is scared to go back to school.
DFCS issued a statement saying,
The Division of Family and Children Services' number one priority is the safety of children in the state of Georgia. As such, the Division has established policies and procedures that seek to protect children from harm and support their overall well-being.
When Division staff are required to transport children in foster care from school to another location, procedure dictates that Division staff provide school personnel with legal documents that identify the child by name and date of birth and assure school personnel of the staff member's right to pick the child up from school.
We are concerned that, even when this procedure is followed, a school could release the wrong child to staff in our Division. As a result, we will review our policies and procedures to determine if further safeguards are necessary to ensure school personnel are releasing the correct child to our staff.