Gov. Nathan Deal announced sweeping changes to the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) Thursday. This follows a string of child deaths that occurred despite the involvement of DFCS.
Bobby Cagle, Commissioner for the Department of Early Care and Learning, will become interim director of DFCS, starting Monday. He replaces Sharon Hill, who will move to the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget.
Cagle said his first priority will be keeping children safe. "There are a number of things we need to do immediately, and that includes reviewing our intake and investigations processes," said Cagle.
Cagle also said he hoped to encourage more community involvement and bring stability to DFCS, which has seen a number of leadership changes.
Deal also announced DFCS would no longer report to the Department of Human Services, but to him directly.
"I don't think you can underestimate the power of being able to walk into the governor's office and present issues," Cagle said.
However, not everyone supported the changes.
Sen. Jason Carter, a Democrat who wants to replace the Republican governor, released a statement, which read:
"It bothers me that it took Gov. Deal this long to act after so many kids and families have already fallen through the cracks. The politics here are irrelevant—our priority has to be protecting kids. It remains to be seen whether this administrative reshuffling of the deck will get us any closer to that goal."
A task force, created by Deal in March, is currently auditing DFCS and will present their recommendations this fall.
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