The state office that oversees Georgia’s foster care system consistently excuses serious and repeated rules violations that jeopardize children’s health and safety according to an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The newspaper’s review of more than 1,500 reports and investigations of the system found that fights, sexual assaults, abuse by foster parents, escapes and suicide attempts occur with regularity at many of Georgia’s 336 private foster care agencies.

The report published Sunday found that state oversight has not kept up with the growth in private care. And the penalties for violations sometimes amount to a slap on the wrist.

In one instance, state records show a private agency inappropriately placed a 17-year-old who had engaged in incest and an 8-year-old who was autistic and mute with a history of being abused at the same foster home.

The newspaper reported that the agency was ultimately punished with a $300 fine

RNT