Bill would privatize child services in Georgia

Senate lawmakers have introduced a bill that would dismantle Georgia’s child welfare system and turn over most duties to private companies.

Senate Bill 350 would require the Division of Family and Children Services to contract out primary functions such as adoption, family preservation, independent living, foster care and case management. It's modeled after a similar system in Florida, which which began moving toward privatization in the 1990s.

The idea has been endorsed by Gov. Nathan Deal, House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle following revelations of widespread failings by the agency. If it passes, changes would be phased in over a two-year period beginning July 2015.

The bill is also contingent on the state receiving a funding waiver from the U.S. government, which currently restricts how federal money can be used to care for foster children.

Advocates oppose the bill, saying the state is moving too fast toward privatization.

Check back to for more as the story develops.