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Gov. Nathan Deal to unveil plan to address Georgias foster care crisis
Proposal could create more public-private ties with state agencies
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Gov. Nathan Deal today will discuss the final recommendations of the Child Welfare Reform Council, which could possibly include more public-private partnerships with state agencies.

Deal will announce the proposals at 11:45 a.m. today at the state Capitol, making public the reports from his council established last March.

The council includes heads of child welfare agencies, state lawmakers and school employees.

“They’re looking at the change of how the (Division of Family and Children Services) department is governed, maybe setting up a more direct relationship between the governor’s office and DFCS,” said state Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs.

Willard, who served on the council on more of the governance angle, said another possible solution was the creation of a separate advisory board within DFCS to look at policy issues.

These recommendations, according to a press release from Deal’s office, will become a part of his 2015 legislative agenda.

Another issue discussed during the course of the council’s review, Willard said, was public-private partnerships, where private foster care agencies could assist DFCS with placement and child care services.

A pilot program was slated to begin in October for Regions 3 and Region 5, focusing in on the areas surrounding Bartow County and Clarke County, respectively. The proposal for bids was canceled Sept. 30 due to limited responses and pricing exceeded budgeted amounts.

“We’re open to it,” Willard said. “I think the administration is open to being sure there are the opportunities of nonprofit, private organizations looking at partnershipping with DFCS in ways of providing foster care.”

Read more on the foster care crisis in The Times Broken Bonds series.

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