COLUMBUS, Ga. -- A search warrant was served at the Muscogee County offices of the Division of Family and Children Services Thursday. In addition, two women were arrested in connection with an investigation into the alleged falsification and destruction of child abuse reports.
The arrest warrants were served on Muscogee DFCS intake supervisor Phyllis Mitchell and former Muscogee DFCS acting director Deborah Cobb. Cobb now serves as director of Social Services.
A GBI investigation found information that supervisors at the Muscogee County DFCS Child Protective Services office allegedly destroyed, delayed, changed and falsified the intake of child abuse reports in order to maintain compliance with internal DFCS guidelines related to the evaluation and response to allegations of the mistreatment of children.
The two women have been charged with one count each of making false statements and writings, concealment of facts and fraudulent documents in matters within jurisdiction of state or political subdivisions, and subornation of false swearing.
If the allegations are found to be true, the falsification of government records would be considered a felony under Georgia state law. Thursday's search was performed to locate and obtain records stored at the Muscogee County DFCS offices.
The warrants were executed by special agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Inspector General and deputies with the Muscogee County Sheriff's office.
Department of Human Services commissioner Clyde Reese issued a statement that addressed the investigation.
"The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) is committed to detecting and preventing fraud and abuse in any of its programs. It has been consistently communicated since January 2011 to all DHS employees in particular the Division of Families and Children Services (DFCS) child welfare and social services' staff that the safety of all children is a fundamental guiding principle. No DHS employee has any reason or incentive to hide allegations of abuse or neglect in order to lower the number of children and families to be entered into the state system. DHS will cooperate fully with all federal and state authorities in their investigation."