Reprinted with the permission of the Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution.

Time uses Georgia case in cover story
Monday, November 6, 2000

The death in Georgia of 5-year-old Terrell Peterson has again drawn national headlines to the problem of children who died or were injured while in foster care.

Time magazine's cover story, which begins with the story of Terrell, says the number of U.S. children in foster care has doubled in the past five years to between 550,000 and 600,000.

The article says about 7,500 children have suffered and sometimes died while in foster care.

Terrell died in 1998. Officials said his emaciated body was covered with lacerations and bruises.

His grandmother, aunt and the aunt's boyfriend have been charged in his death.

The Time article cites problems with child welfare programs in many states, including Georgia, Alabama and California.

The magazine reported that 20 states are having large-scale problems with their foster care and oversight.

Attorneys are filing class-action suits asking judges to take control of entire child welfare agencies and have governors appoint task forces to review child welfare programs, according to the article.

The Journal-Constitution and CBS have detailed the Peterson case. Gov. Roy Barnes launched a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe into 13 deaths, including Terrell's, after newspaper reports that more than 800 Georgia children had died during a six-year period after someone had reported their families for abuse or neglect.

The GBI recommended changes to the the child welfare system and Barnes is pushing for reform.

"Terrell Peterson should not have happened," he told Time.

Time Magazine Cover Story: The Crisis in Foster Care

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