Reprinted with the permission of the Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution.

Search on for state advocate for children
Panel that will make recommendation to the governor by Aug. 31 is sworn in.
Ron Martz - Staff
Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Finding candidates who want to be Georgia's first child advocate is not expected to be a problem --- the governor's office already has received 10 applications and the job has yet to be advertised.

But finding qualified candidates among them who will provide a strong, independent voice for the state's children is expected to be more difficult for the 12-member nominating committee sworn in Tuesday. The committee was told by Gov. Roy Barnes to come up with at least three recommendations by Aug. 31. But Buddy Darden, chairman of the panel, said it would more likely send five recommendations to the governor.

"It's important for us to get the most qualified list of nominees for the governor to choose from," said Darden, the former Democratic congressman from Cobb County, who also served in the state Legislature. Darden set a July 15 deadline for accepting applications for the position, which will pay between $65,000 and $75,000 a year.

The child advocate, who will report to the governor, is expected to investigate complaints made on behalf of children receiving care from the Division of Family and Children Services and Child Protective Services and to try to find resolutions. The advocate also could ask the governor to take legal action through the attorney general's office. The advocate does not have to be an attorney but must have knowledge of child welfare, the legal system and the judicial system.

Renay Blumenthal, an aide to Barnes, said a more specific job description will be posted shortly on an as-yet-to-be-determined state government Web site and candidates can fax their resumes to her at 404-463-7779.

The panel plans to start interviewing the candidates on July 24. Among the early applicants is state Rep. Sharon Trense (R-Atlanta), who decided last year not seek re-election in the fall. Trense was a well-known advocate for children during her four terms in the General Assembly and last session was the primary sponsor of a bill that gave the commissioner of the Department of Human Resources and the state DFACS director more power in hiring and firing the heads of county child welfare offices.

Here are the members of the new committee that will recommend at least three people to the governor to be the state's first child advocate to oversee child welfare in Georgia. The members were sworn in Tuesday by the governor's chief of staff.

[Back to Terrell Peterson Pages] [GAHSC Home Page] brought to you in partnership with AccessAtlanta
© 1999, 2000 Cox Interactive Media