Georgia demotes Walker County child welfare director after complaints

Georgia demotes Walker County child welfare director after complaints

May 28th, 2015 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Local Regional News

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See the Times Free Press investigation into Georgia's child services department here.

State officials confirmed that the Walker County Division of Family and Children Services director was removed from her position after multiple complaints from the community.

The decision was made shortly after a mother and her son were arrested for child abuse and a 9-year-old boy was removed from their home earlier this year. The LaFayette Police department said the boy was removed after more than a dozen complaints were made to the local DFCS office, but nothing was done.

State DFCS Director Bobby Cagle received several complaints from both the community and from other employees about Director Kimberlee Gravitz and he had her removed from her position two months ago, a department spokeswoman said.

Since a series of high-profile child deaths brought media attention and criticism to how Georgia was handling child abuse cases last year, the state has begun to crack down.

Last summer, Gov. Nathan Deal removed the head of the DFCS and appointed Cagle. And since last March, the number of child abuse cases investigated has nearly doubled and the number of children in state custody reached 8,862 last year, the highest total since 2009.


A earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Kimberlee Gravitz was fired. While she was removed from her position as director, she was demoted rather than being removed completely from the Walker County Division of Family and Children Services.