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Your Views: State should seek to help local caseloads, not deny them
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Having served as a volunteer in the Hall County Juvenile Court, Citizens Review Panel for the past eight years, I have observed and reviewed hundreds of cases involving DFCS and the children they are trying so hard to help. With this background, I was very interested in The Times’ Jan. 14, story, "Staffing not an issue, DFACS says."

After reporting Judge Mary Carden’s views, The Times story quickly contradicts its own headline by telling us that DFCS employees are forbidden to talk about staffing issues. Then we are moved to the Georgia Department of Human Services, where the spokesperson’s response is very defensive, with statements claiming "there’s never a problem meeting the caseloads in Hall County at all."

I dispute this. In my tenure at the court, I have witnessed delayed cases reportedly resulting from excessive workload, high turnover and the inexperience of new DFCS people.

In a number of the Juvenile Court cases I have observed, the presiding judge has been Mary Carden, and what a blessing she is to the children she is helping. No one could try harder or care more for these kids. Judge Carden has no agenda other than their safety and welfare and I have always found her to be totally committed to her job.

As for the Department of Human Services, instead of nitpicking the numbers and denying a problem exists, why don’t they send a person with some authority to Hall County to meet with Judge Carden and local DFCS people to discuss what can be done to help the kids by moving cases more rapidly through the system?

Joanne Valentine
Hall County Juvenile Court, Citzens Review Panel, Gainesville

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