BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) faced more questioning from state officials on Tuesday, Sept. 6 as the agency faces legal action after the overdose death of a two-year-old child.
The agency met with the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare on Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. DCFS shared a statement ahead of the meeting:
The Health and Welfare committees of the Legislature are the oversight committees of the Department of Children and Family Services. Secretary Walters looks forward to meeting with Senate Health and Welfare committee members to discuss the current issues and needs of child welfare in the Baton Rouge region and elsewhere in the state.The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services
During the meeting, the Senate committee pushed for answers regarding why children would not be getting proper care while the agency reiterated that they are making internal policy changes.
Second half of Senate committee meeting:
After the arrest of a mother whose two-year-old son died after ingesting fentanyl, DCFS said it launched an internal review into the case.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office said two-year-old Mitchell Robinson III is believed to have taken fentanyl pills that were left lying around before he was declared dead at a local hospital on the morning of Sunday, June 26.
Deputies arrested the child’s mother, Whitney Ard, 28, on charges of one count of negligent homicide on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
In another case, deputies arrested a Zachary man accused of sexually abusing his foster children. Arrest documents showed that DCFS had investigated complaints against the man and removed the children from the home but they were later returned.
During questioning on Monday, Aug. 8 with the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children, DCFS officials said the agency is severely understaffed and underfunded. DCFS said with less staff, caseworkers are being forced to take on more workload than recommended.