Category Archives: Health

Deal appoints Division of Family and Children Services Interim Director

Gov. Nathan Deal today appointed Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) Director Tom Rawlings to be the interim director of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). Rawlings’ appointment follows the departure of DFCS Director Virginia Pryor. Deal also appointed OCA Deputy Director Rachel Davidson to serve as Interim OCA Director. Both appointments are effective Aug. 1.

 “Every child deserves a safe, loving and supportive environment in which to grow and learn,” said Deal. “DFCS and OCA are instrumental in our efforts to protect and care for Georgia’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens, while providing all children with greater opportunities to succeed. Throughout his extensive career in juvenile justice and child advocacy, Tom Rawlings has demonstrated a profound commitment to ensuring the health and wellbeing of young people across our state. I am confident he will serve Georgia well and that Rachel Davidson will build upon our initiatives at OCA. I am grateful for Director Pryor’s leadership and wish her the best in her next endeavor.”

Tom C. Rawlings – Interim Director, Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS)

Rawlings is the director of the Office of the Child Advocate. He was the first full-time juvenile court judge in the Middle Judicial Circuit and oversaw juvenile justice and child protection cases in five counties. Rawlings was the country director for International Justice Mission in Guatemala, where he directed a child sexual abuse prosecution and treatment team. He is certified as a child welfare law specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children and a former Fulbright Senior Specialist in law. Rawlings is the author of “Georgia Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: Policy, Practice and Procedure.” He earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law and a master’s degree with distinction in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. Rawlings and his wife, Kay, have three children and reside in Sandersville.

Rachel H. Davidson – Interim Director, Office of the Child Advocate (OCA)

Davidson is the deputy director of the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA). She has more than a decade of experience as a child welfare attorney and was previously a policy analyst for OCA. Davidson has represented children in dependency cases with the DeKalb County Child Advocacy Center and served as a fellow for the Cold Case Project administered by the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Committee on Justice for Children. She also served as a juvenile court liaison for the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services and as the unit manager of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. Davidson earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in Business Administration and a law degree from Stetson University. She and her husband, Patrick, have two children and live in Dunwoody.

Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel Aims to Reduce Youth Suicide Through Awareness

Decatur, GA – In 2018, the GBI’s Child Fatality Review Unit has received 23 cases of suicide related deaths of children under the age of 18.  For every young person who dies by suicide, national statistics indicate 25 others will have attempted to take their own lives.  There have been more than 1,000 suicide related admissions of children to Georgia hospitals in the past year.  Several agencies in Georgia have come together to produce a series of public service announcements (PSA), the first of which was aimed at children helping children.

Today, the release of the second features adults who share their experiences with their loved ones who have considered or attempted suicide. These are parents, siblings, and experts who have seen this crisis firsthand and want to raise awareness for others to continuously seek help for children in crisis.  Parents and  teachers are in a key position to pick up on these signs and get help

The PSAs are a continuation by the Georgia Child Fatality Review (GCFR) Panel to raise awareness of youth suicide.  Joining GCFR in this prevention effort are Voices for Georgia’s Children, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Human Services’ Division of Family and Children Services, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Individuals who exhibit signs of suicide, or identify signs of suicide in others, can call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line at 1-800-715-4225, 24/7.  All calls are free and confidential.  Alternatively, please visit for assistance.  GCAL is provided statewide by DBHDD.

The mission of CFR is to serve Georgia’s children by promoting more accurate identification and reporting of child fatalities, evaluating the prevalence and circumstances of both child abuse cases and child fatality investigations, and monitoring the implementation and impact of the statewide child injury prevention plan to prevent and reduce incidents of child abuse and fatalities in the state.

GBI Crime Lab Releases 2018 Drug Trends Data

The GBI’s Forensic Chemistry section has released new data on the 2018 statewide drug trends in Georgia.  This culmination of data is attributed to law enforcement seizures tested by the Crime Lab.  It should be noted that the GBI Crime Lab does not test every item submitted by law enforcement officers and does not routinely test marijuana.*

GBI Crime Lab Drug Reports CY 2018 Breakdown on Major Drugs

In calendar year 2018, drug analysis indicates the following:

  • The top 6 drugs tested are: 1) methamphetamine, 2) cocaine, 3) alprazolam, 4) oxycodone, 5) heroin, and 6) hydrocodone
  • The most seized opioids are: 1) oxycodone, 2) heroin, 3) hydrocodone, followed by 4) fentanyl/analogs.
  • The top 5 counties with the highest use of opioids in Georgia are: 1) Cobb, 2) Fulton, 3) Gwinnett, 4) DeKalb, and 5) Chatham. NOTE: In calendar year 2017, the county with the 5th highest number of opioids was Richmond with 1-4 being the same metro Atlanta counties.
  • A total of 11 different variations of fentanyl were seized by law enforcement and tested by our Crime Lab.

*This data was collected on May 22, 2018 and is subject to change as additional cases are tested by the lab.  The data represents 3,954 drug cases submitted to our crime lab by law enforcement agencies.