ATLANTA - New leadership is coming for Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services after three high-profile deaths.
Channel 2's Lori Geary spoke with Gov. Nathan Deal Thursday who said the focus for the workers has to change.
“There is a culture within DFCS that probably has not produced the best results,” Deal said.
Deal said he's now trying to change that culture, starting with the person who heads Georgia's embattled child welfare agency.
Sharon Hill is now out and Bobby Cagle, the commissioner for early care and learning, will take on the challenge of ensuring child safety is No. 1.
Deal said right now DFCS workers are focusing too much on keeping families together.
“While that is a laudable goal, I believe the more appropriate goal is the welfare of the child,” Deal said.
Deal's major restructuring of DFCS comes after
several high-profile deaths.
In Gwinnett County, the father and stepmother of 10-year-old Emani Moss are now charged in her death. Investigators say she was starved to death and then burned.
Channel 2 Action News found DFCS had six previous complaints that Moss was being abused.
In Paulding County, investigators said the father of 12-year-old Eric Forbes beat him to death after the boys' teachers reported alleged abuse to DFCS.
And the most recent case, 5-year-old Heaven Woods, police say suffered long-term abuse.
Investigators told Channel 2 Action News her mother who had a history with DFCS recently moved from Floyd County to live with her boyfriend in Monroe county. They're now both charged with murder.
Deal said he supports changing the law to go after parents who up and move while DFCS is investigating them.
“It may at least be a criminal offense for a parent who knows that they are under investigation by DFCS to pick up and take their child out of that jurisdiction without notifying DFCS that they're moving,” Deal said.
Cagle takes over as head of DFCS effective Monday.