DFCS worker arrested, charged with child cruelty

A mother and employee with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services was arrested and charged with cruelty to children against her own daughter, according to officials.

Henry County Police said Merita Croll spanked her daughter to the point of causing bruising last week. The mother has since been released from jail on bond.

FOX 5 News obtained the incident report regarding the situation.

Investigators said Croll's child complained of hurting at school. And once a teacher looked at her leg, she noticed bruising on her inner and outer thighs, according to the incident report.

The child reportedly told investigators that her mom spanked her and she then fell on a fan. Captain Joey Smith with the Henry County Police Department said detectives followed up with the child's parents.

Officers said Mrs. Croll confirmed she spanked her child with a "carrot bat" (a plastic bat shaped like a carrot). But she said her daughter tripped over a cord and fell on a fan following the spanking.

Mrs. Croll also said she rubbed ointment on the girl's leg after she complained of pain following the incident, according to the same report.

DFCS released the following statement to FOX 5 News regarding its employee:

“Merita Roberts-Croll was hired by the Department of Human Services on January 1, 1991, and her current position is Children and Family Services Review Statewide Assessment/Program Improvement Plan Project Director in the Division of Family and Children Services.

“Ms. Roberts-Croll was placed on suspension without pay on March 12, 2018 after her arrest, pending the outcome of the investigation. Her job responsibilities were in the state office and did not involve direct service delivery to children and families.”