By Associated Press - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday announced the names of 20 people who have been appointed to the state’s newly-created Child Welfare Reform Council.

The list of appointees includes President and CEO of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Donna Hyland, Office of the Child Advocate Executive Director, Ashley Willcott, and three representatives from both chambers of the state Legislature. The list also includes two juvenile court judges, several law enforcement officials, foster youth advocates and a Fulton County Schools social worker.

“With this council now in place, it is our hope to uncover new approaches that will strengthen our child welfare system and ensure that Georgia’s children are given the best shot at a good life,” Deal said in a release. “These appointees have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of children, and I feel confident that together they will produce meaningful and thoughtful reform recommendations.”

The council was formed after the deaths of several children whose families had been involved with DFACs at some point. The group is expected to review the Division of Family and Children Services and advise the governor of necessary agency and legislative reforms.

In mid-March, Deal named Stephanie Blank as the council’s director. Blank serves on the state Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care and is active in several other organizations.

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