A mix of child advocates, juvenile court judges, and lawmakers are among those who have been appointed to a state council that will suggest reforms to Georgia’s child welfare services.
Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday named the members of the Child Welfare Reform Council, which was created in March to improve the state’s child welfare system.
The council was created as the Georgia House and Senate were stuck during this year’s legislative session over differing plans to privatize most child welfare services, reports WABE. The governor has tasked the council members with reviewing the Division of Family and Children Services and suggesting possible reforms and legislative fixes to the agency.
“With this council now in place, it is our hope to uncover new approaches that will strengthen our child welfare system and ensure that Georgia’s children are given the best shot at a good life,” Deal said in a statement. “These appointees have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of children, and I feel confident that together they will produce meaningful and thoughtful reform recommendations."
The council will meet throughout the remainder of this year to complete its review and recommend action. Stephanie Blank will chair the council and will work in conjunction with the Governor’s Office and the Department of Human Services.
Council members are:
- Ashley Willcott, Office of the Child Advocate, from Dunwoody
- Judge Steve Teske, Juvenile Court of Clayton County, from Jonesboro
- Judge Peggy Walker, Juvenile Court of Douglas County, from Douglasville
- Melissa Carter, Barton Child Law and Policy Center, from Decatur
- Donna Hyland, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, from Atlanta
- Dr. Cheryl Dozier, Savannah State University, from Savannah
- Meredith Ramaley, Smyrna Police Department, from Smyrna
- Heather Rowles, Multi-Agency Alliance for Children, from Atlanta
- Tyra Walker, WinShape Homes Director for Chick-fil-a, Inc., from Jonesboro
- Crystal Williams, EmpowerMEnt & Former Foster Youth, from Atlanta
- Lamar Burkett, foster parent and advocate, from Moultrie
- Bob Bruder-Mattson, The United Methodist Children’s Home, from Roswell
- Valerie Condit, Fulton County Schools, from Atlanta
- Duaine Hathaway, Georgia CASA, from Newnan
- Carolyn Hugley, State Representative from Columbus
- Valerie Clark, State Representative from Lawrenceville
- Wendell Willard, State Representative from Sandy Springs
- Freddie Powell Sims, State Senator from Albany
- Burt Jones, State Senator from Jackson
- Fran Millar, State Senator from Dunwoody