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Georgia House slows down efforts to privatize child welfare system

The Georgia House Judiciary Committee decided Tuesday to scale down the Senate Bill 350 that would require the state Department of Human Services (DHS) to outsource some of their child welfare services through contracts with private providers.

The new proposal would introduce a two-year pilot program in just a few areas in Georgia, to make sure the transition can be closely monitored and doesn't put more children at risk.

In the first quarter of 2013, 55 children reported to the Georgia Division of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) have died.

The S.B. 350 included adoption, family preservation, independent living, emergency shelter, foster care, case management, and post-placement supervision as some of the services that would be privatized.

The Judiciary Committee Chairman Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, introduced the substitute to S.B. 350.

“I’m concerned if we make a complete change without having an opportunity to do a full evaluation of it, we may be — as I’ve heard from Florida who went through this — creating the same potential problems in our own state,” said Willard.