The sudden departure Monday of Georgia’s Division of Children and Family Services (DFCS) director Rachelle Carnesale after less than a year left many child advocates scratching their heads. “It is a surprise to everybody,” said Normer Adams, Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Homes and Services for Children. A statement from Department of Human Services (DHS) spokesperson Ravae Graham said only that “Rachelle Carnesale is no longer with the Department.”
According to two child welfare specialists familiar with the situation, who wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the subject, DHS Commissioner Clyde Reese fired Carnesale. One specialist speculated Carnesale was dismissed because she was not making progress at the agency fast enough for Reese. He went on to say that, despite her good work, Carnesale did not have a “high profile presence” at the agency.
Following the sudden departure of director Rachelle Carnesale, Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Clyde Reese has named new interim leadership at the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). Deputy Director Ron Scroggy will serve as Acting Director of DFCS. His new Acting Deputy Director will be Katherine Herren. In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Reese stressed the safety of the children involved with Georgia’s welfare agency was the top priority. “During this period of transition, it was important to appoint individuals that were experienced with Georgia’s social services field,” said Reese.
There’s a new push for a full time medical director to oversee the medical needs of children in the care of both the Georgia’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). Commissioner Clyde Reese III and DFCS Director Rachelle Carnesale, both new to their posts, announced their support for the position during a recent House Children & Youth Committee meeting at the state capitol. “We believe that the appointment of a full time medical director would be beneficial to the department and the children we serve,” Reese said, during the hour-long meeting that covered updates on the status of foster care and child support collection services for the state’s children. The Medicaid and Medicare programs were also discussed. “We think it would be most beneficial to work with someone who does that every day.”
Rachelle Carnesale has been named as the next director of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services. Governor-elect Nathan Deal’s transition team put out the word this week. Carnesale replaces Mark Washington, who left the post in September to become COO of FaithBridge Foster Care, Inc., a non-profit family services agency in Alpharetta. Carnesale is a lawyer with a background as both a prosecutor in child abuse cases, and an administrator of a child welfare agency. She is currently acting director of the Office of the Child Advocate. As deputy director of the OCA she ran the Child Fatality Investigation Program and developed the Child Abuse Training Academy. She has also been a prosecutor in DeKalb and Cherokee Counties.