The introduction of a long-awaited juvenile code rewrite in the state Senate earlier in the day added to the celebratory mood of an evening reception held in honor of Governor Nathan Deal’s nine newly appointed directors of child-focused state agencies. Many child advocacy organizations turned out for the event hosted by Voices for Georgia’s Children. The Blue Room at the Georgia Freight Depot was all abuzz with the news that Sen. Bill Hamrick’s (R-30) SB 127 was likely headed to a Judiciary Committee hearing, possibly as soon as next week. “We are thrilled to know that it has been introduced,” said Emory University’s Barton Child Law and Policy Center Policy Director Kirsten Widner. The organization was actively involved in drafting the legislation.
We’re asking lawmakers to weigh in on issues affecting children and the juvenile justice system in Georgia. We’re kicking off this JJIE.org interview series, with some insight from Representative Stacey Abrams (D-DeKalb) on the challenges ahead for the Department of Juvenile Justice, now charged with helping troubled children amid severe budget cuts. State Representative Stacey Abrams
Newly-appointed Minority Leader
Sits on the Juvenile Justice Sub-Committee of the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee
What do you consider to be some of the main pressing issues facing juvenile justice in Georgia? I am very interested in working with the new Commissioner Amy Howell as I was with the former commissioner on issues of juvenile justice because it is an important issue. How we deal with our children speaks to the stability of our communities and to so many larger structural issues in our state.