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Nationally, 25 to 50 percent of emancipated youth become homeless. Lack of job skills and opportunities are major contributors.

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Georgia CPS News Archive

Georgia News Coverage

by Craig Schneider

Huddled overnight beneath the shopping carts at Walmart, Markea Berry confided in her journal that she would rather live at the store than at home.

The next day, after store employees found her wandering among the produce, the Smyrna teen told police she had run away because she didn't want to be a burden on her mother. She was 14, but she was so small and skinny that she looked five years younger. Now, less than two years later, Markea is dead; at the time of her death in June she weighed 43 pounds. The mother she wanted not to burden, Ebony Berry, is charged with murder. She is accused of starving her daughter to death despite multiple investigations over nearly 10 years by child protection workers in Michigan and later in Georgia.

August 9, 2012

by Tony Santaella

COBB COUNTY -- WXIA obtained files from the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services that show caseworkers were showing concern several years before a 16-year-old girl died of starvation.

Authorities received a 911 call from the mother of Markea Berry saying the teen was unresponsive. Detectives determined she was starved to death and arrested her mother, Ebony Berry, for murder. According to the autopsy, Markea weighed just 43 pounds.

August 9, 2012

by Andrew Lu

Georgia authorities found a 15-year-old girl who was forced to live in a chicken coop days at a time and who was forced to wear a shock collar for dogs as punishment.

The parents of the girl, Samuel and Diana Franklin, have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of child cruelty and false imprisonment. The girl has been placed in temporary state custody. The unidentified girl was adopted around 2007 and was home-schooled in a small rural town about 85 miles south of Atlanta.

July 16, 2012

by Tim Lynch

Deshawn Balka, 25, who was 5 1/2 months pregnant at the time, is alleging a lack of adequate medical care and a slow response to her cries for help when her son was born prematurely in April.

Balka's baby boy was delivered in the toilet of her jail cell. The suit alleges that it took about three hours for someone to respond to Balka's calls after the pain started. She said jail staff arrived five to 10 minutes after the baby was born.

July 6, 2012

by Paige Cornwell

The metropolitan Atlanta foster care system continues to improve its adoption rate and is maintaining strong oversight over its foster homes, but still falls short in several key areas, according to a monitoring report released Friday.

Of the children ready for adoption during the latter half of 2010, 84 percent were adopted within 12 months, according to the report by federally appointed monitors of child welfare systems, which covers the last six months of 2011. An additional 11 percent of adoptions were finalized within 13-17 months. This is the state's best performance to date and the first time it surpassed the 80 percent performance threshold, the report notes.

July 3, 2012

by Marcus E. Howard

MARIETTA - According to the Georgia Department of Human Services, the number of children in foster care has declined over the past few years in Cobb County.

There were 262 children in foster caster in the county at the end of 2011, down 33 percent from 391 children just two years prior. As of April 30, 266 children were in the temporary legal custody of the Cobb County Department of Family and Children Services.

May 28, 2012

by Greg Bluestein

A Georgia middle school student claimed in a lawsuit Wednesday he was humiliated and traumatized when he was brought to a vice principal's office and forced to strip in front of classmates who said he had marijuana.

The student, then in the seventh-grade, said he still suffers from emotional distress because his classmates taunted him by calling him Superman, the underwear he was wearing when he was strip-searched. The student is suing the Clayton County school district for unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

CNS News

February 15, 2012

by Crystal Tatum

CONYERS -- Elks Aidmore of Conyers is expanding services to include a therapeutic fostering program that will reach into Newton County.

Elks Aidmore finalized an agreement with the Georgia Department of Human Services to provide foster care services in the Conyers, Covington and Athens areas, with plans to expand into Valdosta in the spring.

February 5, 2012

Atlanta cops arrested two teens around 3:30 a.m. on Friday morning for busting into a CNN Newsroom -- to check their Facebook accounts.

January 29, 2012

Since the beginning of the 2011 school year, homeschoolers in Colquitt, Cook, Tift, Lowndes, and surrounding counties have been enjoying a monthly Homeschool Day at Reed Bingham State Park.

Outdoor classes have covered different topics including reptiles and amphibians, fish, mammals, and birds. The classes are under the instruction of Kitty Davis, nature interpreter, at the park.

January 17, 2012

by Nancy Badertscher

Day care centers are already signing up to be part of a voluntary rating system for child care that debuts for the public next year.

Eighty-three day care providers applied last week to participate in the rating system. Participating child care centers will exceed the basic requirements for state licensing and will receive one of three ratings, which will be displayed to the public at the centers and eventually on the Internet.

January 12, 2012

by Megan Thornton

CANTON - Georgia Cancer Specialists-Canton will participate once again in the 10th annual Totes 2 Tots suitcase drive for foster children Friday.

Donors are asked to drop off new or gently used bags to their location at 228 Riverstone Drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All of the bags will be given to local foster children - many of whom have to use garbage bags to hold their most prized possessions when moving from home to home.

January 12, 2012

ATLANTA - 10 years ago, the foster care system in Fulton and DeKalb Counties was so bad; it triggered a lawsuit from a national advocacy organization.

Children's Rights, says the system has substantially improved. The organization recently released its progress report. If a child has been abused, he or she will likely end up in the state's foster care system. It was set up to keep those kids from further abuse. But Children's Rights attorney Laurence Borten says that was not happening in two of Metro Atlanta's main counties.

January 12, 2012

by Laura Hibbard

Jack Persyn, 13, was in chess club before class when he discovered a short knife in the bag he brought to his Georgia school, station WXIA reports

Persyn's aunt had bought the bag from a yard sale, and gave the purchase to the teen without checking inside first, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports. After Persyn told his Lanier Middle School teacher that he accidentally brought the weapon to class, the teen received four days of in-school suspension, a punishment his father Bill Persyn says is excessive.

January 8, 2012

by Kidjacked Editor

Jackie Carpenter describes herself as a businesswoman, volunteer and reluctant author because she never intended to become an author, nor expected to be a resource for people facing a crisis in life.

The Bridge tells the frightening chain of events that occurred after her son, the victim of copper thefts on his construction job sites, was guarding his property on the advice of a deputy. In the early morning hours of June 27, 2008, he attempted a citizen's arrest when his gun accidentally fired, wounding one of the alleged thieves. Hours later when the man died from the wound, the deputy recanted his advice and her son Jason was taken into custody and charged with felony murder and four other serious charges.

November 14, 2011

by Lydia Senn

Sue Lagermann has watched for years as foster children in Floyd County carry their belongings from home to home in trash bags. "It's heartbreaking," she said.

Earlier this year she initiated a new concept, "Easing the Burden Suitcase Project." The project will provide a suitcase or luggage set to each foster child in Floyd County. Currently there are 210. CASA has received a $1,000 grant from Rome ReSale located at 246 N. Fifth Avenue. Lagermann used that money to purchase 51 suitcases with the help of West Rome Walmart. Read more: - Local organizations provide suitcases to children in foster care

October 30, 2011

by Marilyn Harrison

Arizona Republic newspaper today we find a story about a 4 month old baby whose name is Josephine winding up with 14 broken bones along with countless other injuries.

Baby Josephine stopped breathing in the dead of night on Aug. 3. She was having seizures when she arrived at Cardon Children's Medical Center sporting 14 broken bones, bruises all over her face and a cigarette burn on her arm.

October 4, 2011

by Patti Mills

Some students are not stressing over the upcoming midterms or worried about the cost of textbooks. That is because they never showed up to class in the first place.

It is called the fake student scam: apply to college, get the loans, and never go to class. Billions of dollars are stolen every year in student loan frauds. North Georgia has an average of 30-50 students per semester with a 0.0 GPA, which is a strong indication of financial aid fraud.

September 30, 2011

by MMD Newswire

The IFCAA announced that, despite the obstacle of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan representing the judges engaged in alleged racketeering enterprises they had taken on apparent judicial corruption in the Cook County Circuit Court family court.

In addition to helping provide evidence to state and federal authorities in pursuit of indictments of allegedly corrupt public officials including Mormon judges, Mannix has networked with Virginia citizens as well as Utah citizens, the latter of which have specifically called upon their Mormon GOP state legislators to launch an independent forensic audit of all Federal taxpayers' dollars coming into the State's family court-related programs.

September 26, 2011

by Michelle Barclay and Mary Hermann, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

This Georgia boy's long stay in the foster care system started when his mother signed a temporary voluntary relinquishment of her parental rights because of her alcohol and drug abuse.

Logan says he will go live with his mother in Texas as soon as he turns 18. He also said going home to his mother is his choice for permanency while in foster care. The Cold Case Project team reviewing his case in 2009, assisted with facilitating movement toward that placement now. Why wait until 18? Logan has even hand written a letter to Texas asking to allow him to go home and live with his mother. All three times, Logan's ICPC request has been denied.

August 10, 2011

by Paul Frysh

Julie Rogers-Martin had started to doubt her teaching skills. After 30 years in education, working mostly with underprivileged inner-city students.

But between 2007 and 2009 a strange thing started happening: Some of her colleagues' students began to outperform her students on the state's standardized test. Like similar tests throughout the nation, Georgia's is given annually to every public school student in grades 1-8. Test performance is tied to school, teacher and district evaluations and heavily linked to the fierce state competition for federal funding.

August 8, 2011

by Iain Murray & Matthew Melchiorre

All across America, municipal governments are awakening to the costs of overly-generous public sector compensation. In Orange County, California, the average total pay and benefits package for a firefighter is $175,000 a year.

Firefighter unions say that there can be no cuts to fire department budgets without putting the safety of the public at risk. Yet for most of the nation's history, firefighting services were reliably provided by the private sector. Today, one county in Georgia is showing how that can be done again.

The American Spectator

July 15, 2011

by Laura Clawson

It used to be that when you thought about cheating in schools, students were the likely culprits. But now, with high-stakes testing putting school funding and jobs on the line, it's administrators and teachers who cheat.

Of the 56 schools that were examined, cheating was discovered in 44 of them - that's more than 78 percent - and 178 teachers and principals were found to have cheated on standardized tests, according to a statement released by Gov. Nathan Deal and first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Eighty-two confessed, while half a dozen others pled the Fifth Amendment, which is an implied admission of wrongdoing under civil law.

July 7, 2011

by Maureen Downey

In a 4-3 vote Friday met with a standing ovation, the Cherokee school board rejected Cherokee Charter Academy, one of eight new charters statewide whose futures were thrown into limbo by the state Supreme Court decision on May 16.

What is interesting to note in both Cherokee and Coweta - which also rejected one of the 16 commission charters Friday and one that is actually in operation -- is that these are communities with high achieving schools, creating tensions between the charter parents who want a different setting for their kids and the parents who are satisfied with their existing public school choices and see the charter schools as a financial drain on already strained resources.

June 27, 2011

by Mordecai Wilson

This week, with Father's Day approaching, I am recognizing the important role that fathers and parents play and their responsibilities in guiding and instructing their children.

Children need the guidance of parents on how to become responsible and independent people. The guidance my parents gave me taught me the difference between a house and a home. Since my wife and I served as foster parents for emotionally and disturbed teenage girls...

June 17, 2011

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