DFCS head answers questions about 2 children's deaths - New York News

DFCS head answers questions about 2 children's deaths

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ATLANTA -

The head of Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services said there are many lessons to be learned from the recent deaths of two young children.

Dr. Sharon Hill says more work must be done before she can determine exactly what went wrong in the screening process for Emani Moss and Eric Forbes. She did say it's clear that more training is necessary if the agency is going to keep other victims of abuse safe.

Hill said the two deaths weigh heavily on the hearts of those at the agency.

"I will be holding myself accountable. I'm holding my staff accountable," Hill said.

For years before his murder in mid-October, teachers reported their suspicions that 12-year-old Eric Forbes was being abused. Eric's father is now charged in Paulding County with the boy's murder.

The body of 10-year-old Emani Moss was found burned and stuffed in a trash can outside of her Lawrenceville apartment last Saturday. Her father, Eman Moss, and stepmother, Tiffany Moss, have been charged in her murder. Authorities said she appeared to have died of starvation.

The summary report of Emani's lengthy history with DFCS details years of abuse. Loved ones, teachers and an anonymous tip all expressed concerns that the little girl was being physically and emotionally abused by her father and stepmother. While one investigation led to Tiffany Moss's arrest on child cruelty charges, other cases were closed or screened out for a lack of evidence or even a lack of an address for her parents.

"What I know so far and what I've learned so far when I look at this is that maybe a continued emphasis on our part about training our staff," Hill said.

Following Emani's murder, critics have said the agency needs to do a better job of screening for what's called predictors for violence and abuse.

"I absolutely agree with that. I need to do everything possible to ensure that my staff are well trained, that they are able to detect any potential signs of abuse," said Hill.

As part of its mission statement, DFCS says no child shall die in vain.

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