The AJC gets it right: Georgia’s foster care system horrifies

I know we often lament the AJC’s diminishing coverage, but reporter Alan Judd’s series this weekend on Georgia’s foster care system proves the paper can still get it right. And congrats to the paper for now being profitable.

Go, read, now. The facts about our publicly funded but often privately managed foster care system speak for themselves. Including this horrifying passage:

One day last April, an employee of the Mercy’s Door group home near Dalton approached a resident with a plan for his redemption: exorcism.

The employee took the boy to an office, where four other staff members were waiting, the boy later told a state inspector. They sat the boy in a chair and encircled him, hands joined, saying they would “exorcise the demons out” of him, he told the inspector.

“In Jesus’ name,” the boy quoted a staff member as saying, “remove the demons.”

Employees at Mercy’s Door required residents to attend daily “devotionals,” where they claimed to “rebuke demons of depression” and spoke in tongues, according to a second boy, who witnessed part of the exorcism rite. When another resident, an atheist, left his room, the boy said, staff members prayed over his bed. The staff, according to one resident, believed that “everyone has demons inside of them.”