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Sen. Ossoff Presses Federal Agencies Amidst Bipartisan Probe into Safety of Foster Children

FILE - Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., arrives before a subcommittee hearing, Sept. 13, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. During a subcommittee hearing on Monday, Oct. 30, chaired by Ossoff in Atlanta, two Georgia juvenile court judges said the head of the state's child welfare agency asked judges in an August meeting to illegally jail foster children while officials looked for other places to house them. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, File)
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FILE - Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga.

The safety of foster children was the focus of a U.S. Senate Human Rights Subcommittee Hearing, on Thursday. The meeting was convened by U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff and Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn on Thursday. The meeting comes as part of a bipartisan investigation into the abuse and neglect of children in foster care.

“We’re talking about the most vulnerable children in the United States. Children who have been abused and neglected. Children who have been trafficked. And for these children, state foster agencies are meant to be a sanctuary, a safe haven, and often a last resort.

“Naturally, I take the greatest interest and have the highest obligation in and to children in my home State of Georgia.

The panel heard testimony from the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI, and Rebecca Jones Gaston, the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, or ACYF. She discussed recent efforts to keep families together.

“We participate in a variety of activities,” according to Jones Gaston. “Such as funding essential services, supporting innovation sharing research, offering training and technical assistance, monitoring child welfare services, and working with states, tribes, territories to improve child welfare delivery.”

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that between 2018 and 2022, 1,790 children in Georgia’s foster care system were reported missing.

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!