DFCS handling rise in cases of neglect

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Thursday, July 17th, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW)- "The car is not on and the baby looks like he's been there for a good while because he was sweating really bad," said Christine Ortalaza in a 911 call
This call of a child left in a hot car lead to the arrest of Russell Givens.
He's accused of leaving his 19 month old in the car alone for several minutes.
Now, Givens is facing a deprivation of a minor charge. Timothy Smith says doing that would never cross his mind.

"I can't leave my children in a car. I won't do it. it's just unthinkable," said Smith.

Richmond County Sheriff's Office forwards reports of neglect then DFCS does an investigation, and this is another case that's just adding to the pile. Which is why governor deal says Georgia needs more case workers.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal added 100 new child protective service workers.
The state has seen a 63 percent increase in reports of abuse and neglect.
Right now, there's over 3,330 open DFCS investigations. This most recent case still something Smith can't wrap his head around.

"It's hot out here and obviously it's going to be hotter in your car. I would never have thought to do something like that. That thought never would have crossed my mind," said Smith.

When DFCS gets a neglect report, a caseworker visits your home between 24 hours to 5 days after the alleged incident depending on how severe the case. If they believe the home is not safe for the child, they take them out. If a child stays with the family, DFCS gives parenting education, counseling, and in home child care. Smith hopes givens arrest will deter other parents from doing the same thing.

"They've got to do something. I mean unfortunately more and more parents seem to do this. If they make a big deal about it maybe it will bring more awareness to it and maybe other parents will start understanding you can't do this," said Smith.
If you want to report possible neglect you can do that 24/7 by calling 1-855-GACHILD
The man who pulled the 19 month old out of the hot car over the weekend will be given a badge of courage tomorrow morning, and news 12 will be there.