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State Human Services Restructured
Friday, 03 April 2009

April 3 – Governor Sonny Perdue commended today the final passage of House Bill 228 by the General Assembly. This legislation will reorganize the Department of Human Resources (DHR) and the Department of Community Health, creating a new Department of Behavioral Health. The legislation was introduced in House by Rep. Mark Butler and carried in the Senate by Sen. Renee Unterman.

“House Bill 228 provides vital restructuring to agencies that care for our state’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Governor Perdue. “I am confident this restructuring puts in place a framework for a more efficient, effective delivery of these critical services.”

The bill will result in three agencies reorganized to provide more focused results – the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Community Health and the Department of Human Services. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities will be responsible for all mental health, developmental disability and addictive disease programs currently under DHR. The department will report directly to the Governor, increasing transparency.

The Department of Community Health will be reorganized to include all the public health and health and long-term care regulation programs of DHR. This change establishes one lead agency to focus on improving Georgia’s health and streamlines health related activities currently in two separate departments.

Lastly, remaining services will be housed under the Department of Human Services. Programs included in this department include Aging, Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and Child Support.

The bill largely resembles the recommendations made by the Health and Human Services Task Force, which convened last year and studied these issues at length. Sen. Renee Unterman, Sen. Jack Hill, Rep. Ben Harbin and Rep. Mark Butler all served on the Health and Human Services Task Force.

“With the passage of this legislation, we are transforming Georgia’s mental and public health systems,” said Rep. Butler. “Georgians who might be lost in a larger organization will get the help and attention they need and deserve.”

 

 
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