Georgia’s new child safety overseer sees challenge, necessity of job

As newly appointed chief of Georgia’s child-protection agency, Bobby Cagle faces the daunting task of turning around the embattled system following recent highly publicized deaths of two children.

Just days into the job, Cagle already this week has had to answer tough questions about the death of a 5-year-old girl, acknowledging agency workers in the case have been taken off duties involving interaction with families or safety of a child.

“The emphasis has to be on the safety of the child,” said Cagle in an extensive interview with the AJC this week. “Unfortunately you can never reduce all risk … you try to bring risk down as far as you can so children are less likely to be injured.”

Child advocates, lawmakers and child care providers say Cagle’s up for the difficult job of leading the Division of Family and Children Services and is intent on wiping out agency mistakes that have contributed to child-abuse tragedies.

As commissioner of the state’s Department of Early Care and Learning for the past three years, Cagle’s been lauded for his work overseeing Georgia’s pre-kindergarten program, though AJC investigative reports found flaws in the agency’s oversight of day care programs during Cagle’s tenure there.

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