On August 8, Sean Harris from Gwinnett County, Georgia, had no idea where his seven-year-old daughter was when she didn't show up to her after-school program.
He spent hours worried about what had happened to his little girl before he received a call and realized it was her on the other end. She hadn't been kidnapped, but was mistakenly taken by the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS).
"Pure anxiety and I was in disbelief that this could possibly happen," Harris said.
DFCS had taken Harris' daughter out of class at Rosebud Elementary School and driven her to their Rockdale County office.
They had apparently confused her with another little girl who goes to the school. The two share the same first and last names, though the spellings on the first differ. Their birthdays are different as well.
Harris blames both DFCS and Rosebud Elementary for unnecessarily terrifying his daughter. For more on this story, check out the video below.video-player-present
The department released the following statement the day after the incident:
The Division of Family and Children Services' number one priority is the safety of children in the state of Georgia. As such, the Division has established policies and procedures that seek to protect children from harm and support their overall well-being.
When Division staff are required to transport children in foster care from school to another location, procedure dictates that Division staff provide school personnel with legal documents that identify the child by name and date of birth and assure school personnel of the staff member's right to pick the child up from school.
We are concerned that, even when this procedure is followed, a school could release the wrong child to staff in our Division. As a result, we will review our policies and procedures to determine if further safeguards are necessary to ensure school personnel are releasing the correct child to our staff.