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Gov. Deal: Council Will Work to Reform Child Welfare System

“After meeting with numerous stakeholders including former foster youth, juvenile court judges, providers and child advocates, it was clear there was a need for a more deliberate reform process of the child welfare system.” - Nathan Deal

Gov. Nathan Deal. Courtesy Gov. Nathan Deal's Office
Gov. Nathan Deal. Courtesy Gov. Nathan Deal's Office

Patch Staff Report

Gov. Nathan Deal announced on Thursday the creation of the Child Welfare Reform Council to improve the state's child welfare system and better protect Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens.

Modeled after the successful Criminal Justice Reform Council, the council will complete a comprehensive review of the Division of Family and Children Services and advise the governor on possible executive agency reforms and legislative fixes if necessary.

The news came as Gold Dome lawmakers in the House and Senate have conflicting views over whether to privatize child welfare services. House leaders are pushing for a scaled-back, two-year pilot in select areas to test privatization. Conversely, Senate leaders want the state in 2017 to begin bidding out all child welfare services. 

While it's unknown what this means for the proposed legislation, Deal reiterated Friday that he wants a slower approach. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Deal said, “This is an area that does need the same kind of scrutiny. Bringing together people who are knowledgeable, people who are interested in the issue, to try to get their ideas and suggestions in the event there needs to be further legislation on the subject.”

Stephanie Blank, a longtime champion of children and education, will chair the council and will work in conjunction with the Governor’s Office and the Department of Human Services. A complete list of council members will be announced in the coming weeks. 

“After meeting with numerous stakeholders including former foster youth, juvenile court judges, providers and child advocates, it was clear there was a need for a more deliberate reform process of the child welfare system,” Deal said in Thursday's press release.

“We have no greater responsibility than caring for our most vulnerable populations. If we do nothing else, we must always do everything in our power to assure that our children are safe and that they get their best shot at a good life. I am confident this council will produce meaningful and thoughtful reform recommendations.”

Blank serves on the Georgia State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care established by Gov. Nathan Deal, the Children’s Healthcare Of Atlanta System Board and First Lady Sandra Deal’s Children’s Cabinet.
Reality March 15, 2014 at 09:11 AM
The best way to protect a lot of these children is to take them away from their parents and put their parents in jail forever. Then spend quality dollars to rehabilitate the children born to the druggies and thugs in this area. Give the money to the children versus the welfare their parents waste on drugs and booze and teach the next generation birth control and to get married as it is not cool to be unwed and pregnant at 15! Change the culture
mary ingram March 15, 2014 at 10:17 PM
I also think when cherokee county dfacs in canton ga removes children from there parent they need to do there job an not remove children that is in a safe place they took my children but i proved everything they said the took my children for was a lie i got my kids back but the damage was already done to my children an myself no i dont think people should live off welfare but i dont think they should just remove kids for no reason with no proof i have gave my children the best possible life i can an still try harder every day for them to get a good education an have a better life i push my kids to become the best person they can an they always have had love no mater what but the dfacs office in canton ga is truly messed up to just take children that are in good hands but you see children getting beat an parents on drugs but they leave them kids in trash like that way to go canton dfacs office in cherokee county for taking children that are safe but leaving the ones who need to be taken the most MR Cash an Mrs Perez

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