Testimony Continues On Foster Care Privatization

Nov 26, 2013

State Senator Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) chairs the working group looking into whether foster care in Georgia would benefit from an increased level of privatization.
Credit Sen. Fran Millar

  A working group of state senators Monday heard a second round of testimony on whether the state should further privatize its foster care system, with some agencies advising lawmakers to hold off on more changes until pending reforms are fully implemented.

Last year Georgia legislature passed a bill to overhaul its juvenile justice system in an effort to change how it punishes young offenders, parts of which will go into effect January first.

Other changes are set to take place at the same time, including moving 27,000 children in foster care and adoption assistance to a Medicaid-managed health care program that’s administered by a private company contracted by the state.

Melissa Carter, who heads Barton Child Law and Policy Center, told a working group of state senators they should wait to see the outcome of those reforms before implementing more.

“It’s really of interest to me to see those things get traction, to then monitor and evaluate their implementation, and that’s going to point to the next direction for refinement and improvement in our system,” Carter said.

The Senate working group was commissioned by the lieutenant governor.

Carter says about 45 percent of the state’s foster children are already in private facilities.

The committee will meet again early next month.