Happy New Year and welcome to the new Voices Blog for Georgia’s Children. I’d initially planned to write a nice introductory post and lay out a few of my hopes for this blog but as is likely to happen during the legislative session and the advocacy world in general, important matters present themselves and drawing attention to them in a timely manner can be essential so I’ll start right off by discussing the appointment of a new Child Advocate.

Just this week Governor Perdue announced the formation of a nominating committee to replace Tom Rawlings the state Child Advocate who resigned late last year. The creation of a nominating committee is required by state law and Perdue has selected three trusted advisors for the job. What is essential is that those advisors take seriously the skills needed for success in the position of Child Advocate.

There are few tasks assigned to the state that are more important than protecting children who have been abused. Even the law creating the Office of the Child Advocate recognizes that “the protection of the children of this state should have the greatest legislative and executive priority.

State law requires the Child Advocate have “knowledge of the child welfare system, the juvenile justice system, and the legal system and shall be qualified by training and experience to perform the duties of the office.” The nominating committee must rigidly adhere to this requirement. The short list they present to the governor must be populated with only the best and brightest, those trained and experienced in the field and those with the skills to serve as both a bridge-builder and an independent watchdog – admittedly no small task.

This appointment may come late in the final term of a term-limited governor, but that does nothing to reduce the importance of the position. Voices urges Governor Perdue and his nominating committee to look in-house and out and then to settle for nothing less than the best for Georgia’s children.

Advertisements