Category Archives: Child Welfare

Will Georgia’s Child Advocate Keep Her Job?

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Dee Simms, who holds the office of Child Advocate for the state may end up losing her job. But, wait a minute! Does she still have one?
It’s all very confusing.

Simms’ recent report on the sad state of Fulton County’s Department of Family and Children’s Services(DFCS) is seemingly at odds with the views of State Human Resources Commissioner, B.J. Walker. Walker was hand-picked for the job by Governor Sonny Perdue, who has made a signature issue out of improving the child welfare system. Now,the report is being used to criticize Purdue and Walker.

In the report, Simms used blunt terms such as “high failure rate”, “obviously poor casework”, and “inexcusable” to describe the work being done by Fulton County DFCS. She also stated that the county office had “fallen apart”. To me, those words strongly indicate that her job will be gone. After all, such words paint a really negative picture of Fulton County DFCS in particular and the state’s DFCS program in general. Never mind that they’re the truth. We can’t have a negative picture being painted of a program which, according to Governor Perdue and Walker, has made improvements.

Now comes word that Dee Simms’ appointment to Child Advocate had expired in September of 2006 and Perdue had not yet decided whether to reappoint her. According to Perdue spokesman Dan McLagan “It’s not uncommon for appointments, particularly to important roles like this, to take a bit of time.” What?! Important roles such as this should be filled immediately, precisely because they are so important.

To lag behind six months in making an official appointment to the role of state Child Advocate says a lot to me about how important improving our child welfare system is to Governor Perdue. Not very. Perhaps DFCS is taking a hint from the governor when it comes to their work-take your time and deal with more important things first. Things which are obviously more important than the welfare of Georgia’s children!

Personally, I think Ms. Simms might as well be preparing to vacate her office. Her job is probably as good as gone. It will be a surprise if she is reappointed. However, it will be a surprise which would be welcome and refreshing. For a change, let’s listen to someone who tells it like it is, without trying to couch the truth in politically favorable terms. Let’s listen and let’s act. The lives of children are at stake here.

[tags]Georgia, child welfare, Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services, Georgia DFCS, Fulton County DFCS, Dee Simms, Georgia Child Advocate, B.J. Walker, Sonny Perdue, Governor Perdue[/tags]

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