Barton Child Law and Policy Center Newsletter
Dear Child Advocates, this update contains:
2011 General Assembly Session Begins
Governor Deal Appoints Emory Alumni
Resheduled Georgia Child Welfare Legal Academy
The 2011 Georgia General Assembly Session Begins

The General Assembly convened on Monday, January 10, 2011.  Due to unusual weather, very little occurred during the first week of the session.  However, Governor Nathan Deal did release his proposed budgets for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 and for Fiscal Year 2012.   The General Assembly is in adjourment this week, but is holding joint budget hearings.  The portions of the hearings most relevant to child advocates are:

  • The Department of Juvenile Justice budget will be discussed on Wednesday, January 19 at 10:30am.
  • The Department of Human Services budget will be discussed on Thursday, January 20 at 9am.
  • The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities budget will be discussed on Thursday, January 20 at 11am.

All budget hearings are in room 341 of the Capitol.  We, too, have returned to the Gold Dome and will resume our weekly legislative updates and occasional action alerts while the General Assembly is in session.  As in past years, the Barton Center will be tracking key legislation related to child welfare and juvenile justice as well as the budget. Additionally, for the first time this year we will be twittering information relevant to child advocacy at the Capitol. Follow us at @bartoncenter by clicking on the Twitter icon to the right.  Follow us on Twitter


Governor Deal Appoints Emory Alumni to Key Posts


Governor Nathn Deal announced the appointment of Amy Howell as the next Commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice.  Amy's career in Georgia began with a post-graduate Equal Justice Works fellowship hosted by the Southern Juvenile Defender Center which was then housed with the Barton Child Law and Policy Center.  Her work focused on policy and systemic improvements for youth with disabilities in the justice system, and she authored publications relating to competence to stand trial in juvenile court and holistic representation of youth in the juvenile justice system. She was later promoted to the Managing Attorney of the SJDC, after which she became an Assistant Public Defender with the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit in the DeKalb County Juvenile Court before joining state government.


Amy has served within the DJJ administration since 2005, first as the agency's Legal Services Director and later as Deputy Commissioner.  She will be the first female DJJ Commissioner in the agency's history. 


Rachelle Carnesale (Emory '92L) has been appointed by Governor Deal to lead the state's child welfare agency as the Director of the Division of Family and Children's Services.  Rachelle assumes this new role following her successful tenure as the Deputy Director of the Office of the Child Advocate, the state's child welfare ombudsman agency. 


For the past 6 years, Rachelle has lead child fatality review and injury prevention efforts within the state, including consultation on child death prosecutions and fatality scene investigations.  She also developed and administered the Child Abuse Training Academy.  Prior to joining state government, Rachelle served as deputy chief assistant district attorney in DeKalb County from 1999-2004.  She also prosecuted cases in Cherokee County, with a specialty in child abuse, after beginning her career in the Georgia Attorney's General's Office in the Criminal Division.


Georgia Child Welfare Legal Academy Rescheduled
Square-Peg Teens in Round-Hole Families & Facilities: Let's Stop The Insanity 


Last week's Legal Academy had to be postponed due to weather.  It is now scheduled for Tuesday February 15, 2011 from 1:00 until 3:15 p.m. in room G575 of Gambrell Hall at Emory University School of Law.  Guest speaker Pat O'Brien of You Gotta Believe! will deliver a presentation entitled "Square-Peg Teens in Round-Hole Families & Facilities: Let's Stop the Insanity."  Mr. O'Brien will make the case that we must stop the practice of placing square-pegs in round-holes and recruit permanent square-peg parents for every square-peg teen due to be discharged from the foster care system.  Mr. O'Brien will also offer concrete ideas about how anyone who knows a teen in foster care can be instrumental in helping recruit a permanent parent for that teen before the teen's discharge from the foster care system.

Pat O'Brien is the Founder & Executive Director of You Gotta Believe! The Older Child Adoption & Permanency Movement, Inc. You Gotta Believe! is one of the few placement agencies in the country that limits its practice to finding permanent parents who will legally or morally adopt teens, pre-teens, or young adults in foster care.  Mr. O'Brien offers keynotes, trainings, workshops, and consulting across the country and also produces, and often hosts, You Gotta Believe!'s weekly cable access television show and radio forum.  Mr. O'Brien has his Master of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University School of Social Work.   


Registration: Seating is limited. Advanced registration is strongly encouraged at  The registration fee for all participants is $10 and includes materials, parking in the hospital visitor parking deck, and light refreshments.  For registration information, contact Sherry McPeeks at 404.712.4643 or  








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