While state officials said Mary Dean Harvey is leaving with a record of major reforms, some child welfare advocates suspect her departure is linked to incidents that raised questions about her stewardship, particularly the arrest last year of a Fulton County welfare worker on child cruelty charges.
Some child advocates expressed concerned about instability in the Division of Family and Children Services with Harvey’s departure. She was the fifth state child welfare director since 1996. She took over in 2005, a year after predecessor Janet Oliva was removed at a time of skyrocketing case loads and heavy staff turnover.
“It’s terrible for the system,” said Normer Adams, head of the Georgia Association of Homes and Services for Children. “There’s no long-term leadership or long-term direction.”