By Amanda C. Coyne, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Aug 17, 2018
The Georgia Division of Family and Child Services is reviewing its training procedures after a Lilburn girl starved to death, said Keith Bostick, deputy division director of child welfare.
Reygan Moon was found dead July 24 by her mother, Devin Moon, who was charged with murder the next day. The Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s Office declared Reygan Moon’s cause of death to be malnutrition and dehydration. Gwinnett County police believe Reygan Moon was intentionally starved, as the apartment they lived in was full of food.
Reygan Moon had been in the custody of an aunt for the first two years of her life, according to DFCS records. The aunt gave her back to Devin Moon in May 2017 but almost immediately contacted DFCS saying that Devin Moon did not know how to take care of a child.
The aunt and Reygan Moon’s grandmother contacted DFCS again in October 2017 and told a caseworker that Devin Moon was not feeding the girl enough, and she had become “skin and bones.” A caseworker implemented a feeding plan and a safety plan with Devin Moon, the last recorded interaction between DFCS and Devin Moon before her daughter’s death. A month after, Devin Moon would not allow anyone to see her daughter. Reygan Moon was dead less than a year later.
“It was so horrific when I reviewed this case that it just kind of highlights the need for us to continue our efforts around prevention, our efforts around how we can perhaps provide services to families early on that can prevent things like what has occurred,” Bostick said.
One step toward preventing future cases like this could be adding more medical education into DFCS employees’ training, Bostick said. About 60 percent of DFCS cases involve neglect, which starvation and malnutrition are classified under.
“As I look at this case, an added support and resource could be instructing our staff in the knowledge of medical neglect,” Bostick said.
Caseworkers are social workers, and their education typically focuses on mental health, not medicine or physical health. While a doctor or nurse may be able to quickly determine if a child is at a healthy weight, it may not be as easy for a caseworker to make that determination, Bostick said.
DFCS has an open investigation into this case, Bostick said. That includes examining the actions of the caseworker and supervisor on the case and trying to determine what else could have been done. Both the caseworker and the supervisor left the agency months before Reygan Moon’s death, a spokesman said.
Devin Moon remains held at the Gwinnett County Detention Center without bond. She will have a bond hearing in September.