Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Going-away bash held for DCFS leader who resigned amid numerous controversies

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BATON ROUGE- A reception that included folding chairs, cake, cupcakes, and other food and drinks was hosted by the Department of Children and Family Services for their former leader who resigned under clouds of controversy.

Marketa Walters quit last year, after two children died on her watch from a fentanyl overdose. In two of those different cases, Walters' agency, DCFS did nothing to intervene.

Employees at DCFS told the WBRZ Investigative Unit the party was tone-deaf. Those employees said they didn't feel like going during work hours but felt obligated to do so after the agency sent out an invitation.

The party was held at the Capitol Park Welcome Center. The building can be rented out to the general public for things like weddings and other events. The State says DCFS rented it out from 9am until 4pm, and there was no charge. If the public uses that facility for a party that long, rental agreements obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit show you'd have to pay $800.

As workers were partying, the agency finds itself embroiled in even more controversy. Another child, Leo Vincent Collero, died of a fentanyl overdose recently in the New Orleans area.

Police added that the mother, Alexis Callero was previously investigated by the Department of Children and Family Services and has even had children removed from her custody in the past. DCFS has been notified of the investigation surrounding the toddler's death.

Callero was booked for second-degree murder, second-degree cruelty to juveniles, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a schedule I controlled dangerous substance (Heroin).

DCFS said the employees who attended did not have to use their leave even though the nearly two-hour party was held in the middle of the day.

"State employees are allowed to plan and attend retirement, birthday and other events as part of employee appreciation activities," Spokeswoman Catherine Heitman said.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit asked for a guest list of who attended. The agency said it didn't keep one.

It's important to note that four other employees with decades of service to DCFS also left recently, and the agency did nothing.

Heitman said the executive team paid for all the food and drinks for everyone.


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