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.
Georgia’s Department of Human Services Commissioner Clyde Reese III has joined in the chorus of agency chiefs outlining for lawmakers the challenges ahead for state agencies charged with keeping children safe amid the most recent wave of massive budget cuts. His 30-minute presentation Thursday [view it here] before members of the joint House and Senate appropriations committee comes on the heels of new Governor Nathan Deal’s announcement last week that all state agency budgets on average will be slashed by four percent during the remainder of the fiscal year ending in June. In his first state-of-the-state address, Governor Deal also warned that another seven percent decrease should be expected for fiscal year 2012. Newly appointed Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Amy Howell presented her planned cuts before the same committee on Tuesday. Reese tells JJIE.org that the budget shortfalls will undoubtedly make work tougher for his agency, which oversees the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), Aging Services Division (DAS), Child Support Services Division (DCSS) and Residential Child Care Office (RCC).