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Governor convening panel to reform child welfare

Nathan Deal

Nathan Deal

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

Modeled after the Criminal Justice Reform Council, this 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.

“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.

“We have no greater responsibility than caring for our most vulnerable populations,” Deal added. “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.”

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.

Blank serves on the Georgia State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care established by the governor, the Children’s Healthcare Of Atlanta System Board and First Lady Sandra Deal’s Children’s Cabinet. She is also a mentor leader for the Emerging Leaders for Children’s Healthcare and a co-founder of Mothers & Others for Clean Air.

A complete list of council members will be announced in the coming weeks.