Cagle announces new DFCS leadership

January 7, 2015

ATLANTA –Director of the Division of Family and Children Services Bobby Cagle today announced new agency leaders who will guide system reform and further the agency’s vision of strengthening Georgia by strengthening families.

Virginia "Ginger" Pryor has been appointed as the Division's Deputy Director for Child Welfare effective Jan. 1. Pryor, previously the Principal of Immersion Consulting, comes to the agency with more than 20 years of experience in child welfare and social policy and a familiarity with Georgia’s child welfare program. Since July, Pryor has provided consulting services funded through Casey Family Programs to help develop a new practice model for child welfare work that reduces the risk of harm to Georgia’s children.

Jon Anderson will rejoin the Division on Feb. 1 as Deputy Director of Family Independence. Anderson is currently the Deputy Chief of Medicaid at the Department of Community Health and leader of the project to develop an Integrated Eligibility System for all state economic assistance programs. Anderson has 17 years of experience in policy and implementation of economic assistance programs for the Division of Family and Children Services.

Carol Christopher, who has served as the agency’s Deputy Director since 2013, has been named the agency’s Deputy Director for System Reform. Christopher has 25 years of experience with the Division in various roles, including as a child welfare case manager and as a Regional Director in the Augusta area. In her new role, Christopher will oversee efforts to improve service to clients and support for agency staff.

Katie Jo Ballard, who served with Cagle as Interim Deputy Director from June to December, transferred to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget on Dec. 31.

“Each of these individuals brings a unique set of experiences and an expansive set of skills that will be integral in strengthening our division and, ultimately, Georgia’s families,” Cagle said. “I feel confident that their combined experience will bring the leadership necessary to further the agency's mission to protect vulnerable children and to provide families with assistance that will put them on a path to self sufficiency.”

Deputy Director of Child Welfare - Virginia "Ginger" Pryor

Ms. Pryor has more than 20 years of experience in child welfare and social policy. She was previously the Principal of Immersion Consulting, LLC and recently served as the Senior Director of Strategic Consulting with Casey Family Programs (CFP) in Seattle, Washington. Ms. Pryor's work with CFP spans more than 11 years and includes: launching and implementation of Family Group Conferencing throughout the Casey Field Offices; serving as Chair of National Foster Care Month; serving as the point person for key national relationships, including National Urban League and America’s Promise; working with the state of Nevada to implement their new Independent Living (IL) component and developing a business case and awareness framework to increase community awareness of child welfare.

Early in her career, Ms. Pryor served as a case manager focusing on individuals with mental health needs in Seattle, WA. She later served as a support worker with the Department of Developmental Disabilities in Washington state. She also served as the Family Unification Support Worker with Child and Family Services in Washington D.C., focusing the safe and expeditious reunification of children with their parents in cases where housing was the only significant barrier to reunification.

During her initial 120 days, Ms. Pryor's focus will be on ensuring the Division has a strong practice model that advances children and families toward positive outcomes. She will spend time in the field where she believes "the heart of the work" occurs. 

Deputy Director for Family Independence - Jon Anderson

Mr. Anderson is currently the Deputy Chief of Medicaid with the Department of Community Health over Eligibility Policy for Peachcare for Kids and Medicaid, Managed Care Enrollment, Third Party Liability, Medicaid Quality Control, the Right from the Start Medicaid Project.  He also serves as Project Leader of the Integrated Eligibility System (IES), which is still in design. 

Mr. Anderson began his career in 1992 with DFCS as a caseworker for Food Stamps, AFDC --now TANF --and Medicaid.  He served in a variety of supervisory and management roles prior to his appointment in 2006  as the Office of Family Independence (OFI) Section Director In this role, he supervised policy development and procedures for all Office of Family Independence Programs for three years before transferring to DCH. 

Mr. Anderson has strong interest in improving both the caseworker and the customer experience for the programs that DFCS serves.

Deputy Director for System Reform - Carol Christopher

Ms. Christopher will continue to serve as a Division Deputy Director focusing on integrating state office and field work processes for Social Services and OFI Services to reduce redundancy, maximize resources, and ensure effectiveness of DFCS support, both internally for staff and externally for clients. 

Prior to becoming the Deputy Director, Ms. Christopher served as the Regional Director for the Augusta area, Region 7.  As regional director, she supervised the county directors and staff in the 14-county region.

Ms. Christopher started her career with DFCS in 1989 as a case manager and has served in a variety of roles including supervisor, program director and consultant for child welfare programs.

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