DECAL commissioner to head Division of Family and Children Services

June 12, 2014

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Bobby Cagle will become the interim director of the Division of Family and Children Services, leaving his position as commissioner of the Department of Early Care and Learning. Cagle will replace Director Sharon Hill, who is leaving to serve at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. Amy Jacobs, senior policy adviser for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, will replace Cagle as interim commissioner of the Department of Early Care and Learning.

“We have no greater responsibility than caring for our state’s most vulnerable citizens,” Deal said. “It is clear there is a need for a more deliberate reform process of the child welfare system, and we are taking action on several fronts. We must work to ensure that our children are safe and that they get their best shot at a good life. Commissioner Cagle has been a longtime champion of child care and early education, playing a vital role in administering our nationally recognized Pre-K program alongside a number of other responsibilities. I have no doubt that Commissioner Cagle will serve our state well in his new role.”

In March of this year, Deal created the Child Welfare Reform Council and council members have met twice to discuss possible executive agency reforms and legislative fixes to improve our state’s child welfare system. Reform recommendations from the council will be presented to the governor this fall. To streamline the review process and efficiently evaluate recommendations, the Division of Family and Children Services will report directly to the Governor’s Office.

The governor also tapped Katie Jo Ballard to serve as the deputy interim director of the Division of Family and Children Services, leaving her role as executive director of the Governor’s Office for Children and Families.

These appointments take effect Monday, and individuals will serve on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is named. 

Bobby Cagle

Cagle serves as commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. Previously, he served as the director of legislative and external affairs for the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services. He also served as the family services director for DFCS and was responsible for statewide policy and program development in the areas of child welfare, domestic violence, sexual assault and provider contracting. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Child Care Administrators (NASCCA) and the National Advisory Board of the Center on Enhancing Learning Outcomes. Cagle earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Amy Jacobs

Jacobs is the senior policy adviser for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. She began her career at OPB in 2001 in the planning, research and evaluation division where her work focused on strategic planning and program evaluation. Also while at OPB, she served as director of the Education Division and the General Government Division. Prior to that, she worked for two years in the Georgia Court of Appeals. She is a member of the Governor’s Innovation Fund Advisory Board. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia. She and her husband, John, are members of Northside United Methodist Church. They have two children and reside in Mableton.  

Katie Jo Ballard

Ballard currently serves as executive director of the Governor’s Office for Children and Families. She is co-chairman of the Georgia Children’s Cabinet along with First Lady Sandra Deal and co-founder and current board chair of Georgia Cares. She also serves on the Agency Leadership Team, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Crime Victim’s Compensation Board, Ready by 21 Leadership Council, the Supreme Court’s Justice for Children Committee and the Criminal Justice Reform Council. Ballard earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Georgia. She and her husband, Dylan, are members of Buckhead Church and reside in Atlanta.