Senate Study Committee on Child Protection Begins Work on Next Legislative Session

  A state Senate study committee on child protection is scheduled to meet today to start crafting an agenda for the next legislative session.  

Division of Children and Family Services interim commissioner Bobby Cagle and Office of the Child Advocate head Ashley Wilcott are scheduled to speak at the meeting, to be held at the State Capitol.As heard on the radio

Atlanta Democratic state Sen. Horacena Tate, who chairs the six-member bipartisan committee, said the meeting will be more of a listening session to see where the state stands on child protective services.

“I’m not one to want to prescribe anything to begin with,” Tate said. “If there’s a problem, we’ve got to figure out what we can do, what can be done to solve the problem.”

Since the session ended, Governor Nathan Deal has authorized a pilot program to begin privatizing some of the state’s services. Former DFCS head Dr. Sharon Hill was replaced by Cagle, and more case workers have been hired with extra funds provided in the budget.

Deal’s also tasked his Child Welfare Reform Council to identify areas where improvements to the system can be made.

Tate says the Senate committee needs updates on those initiatives to determine what needs to be tackled next year.

“That’s the whole point is to determine what legislation can come out of this other than budgetarily funding more positions,” Tate said.