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Oliva Appointed Director of DHR Division of Family and Children Services

Monday, November 17, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue and Department of Human Resources (DHR) Commissioner Jim Martin announced today the appointment of Dr. Janet R. Oliva as Director of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). Oliva has served as a Special Assistant to Commissioner Martin since September 2003 advising DFCS during its review of child welfare guidelines and practices.

"Our state has an absolute moral obligation to protect and care for children receiving state services. Dr. Oliva is the right person, at the right time, to lead this critical state agency that impacts thousands of families and children," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "Georgians are a compassionate people, and we all share in the responsibility of caring for the children of this state."

Since September, Oliva, Commissioner Martin, and the DHR Board have directed the retraining of 1,500 frontline workers and supervisors in safety and risk management; initiated a review of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties with experienced state staff support and a national consulting firm; hired six additional special investigators; changed DFCS policy to ensure closer monitoring by supervisors of risk and safety assessments done by caseworkers; and restructured DFCS to place more experienced staff in positions to support to frontline caseworkers and address problems before they reach critical stages.

Prior to joining DFCS, Oliva was the Special Agent in Charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Child Abuse Investigative Support Center, a unit that provides investigative and forensic support to local agencies involved in the investigation of child abuse and neglect. Oliva received specialized training in regard to child abuse recognition and investigations, interviews and interrogation, criminal investigative analysis, peer counseling, hostage negotiation and supervision, and developed an expertise with regard to child-related crimes. Oliva has been employed in the law enforcement profession for approximately 20 years, 17 of which have been with the GBI. She is a member of the International Criminal Investigative Analysis Fellowship, an international organization of recognized criminal investigative analysts (profilers).

"The Governor made a wise decision to send Janet Oliva to the Department of Human Resources to identify immediate actions to protect children. Her work at the GBI and as special assistant to the department has shown that she cares for children," said DHR Commissioner Jim Martin. "With the enthusiastic support of the Governor and the Chairman of the Board of Human Resources, I have the privilege of appointing Dr. Janet Oliva as the Director of the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Resources."

DFCS, a division of DHR, investigates child abuse; locates foster homes for abused and neglected children; helps low income, out-of-work parents get assistance; assists with childcare costs for low income parents who are working or in job training; and provides numerous support services and programs to help troubled families.

Oliva earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on Criminal Justice from Brenau University and a Master of Education degree from The University of Georgia. Dr. Oliva earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree from The University of Georgia in May 2003.