“I was not aware DFAC has a board of directors,” said Ellen S. Golden, local attorney, sole candidate for the local Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) board, at the Monday 22 July 2013 Lowndes County Commission Work Session; they vote tonight. Nor was I. Maybe the county should tell us who they are. Anyway, Ellen Golden is willing to serve, and we have video of what she said, plus a little detail about her relevant experience.
County Manager Joe Pritchard said Commissioners had before them a letter from Virginia Boswell recommending a replacement for the expiring position of Mr. [Loud Click!] Farrell(?). He said the recomendee is Ellen Golden.
And state DFCS has this address for the Lowndes office:
The Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) is the part of DHS that investigates child abuse; finds foster homes for abused and neglected children; helps low income, out-of-work parents get back on their feet; assists with childcare costs for low income parents who are working or in job training; and provides numerous support services and innovative programs to help troubled families.
Lowndes County DFCS
206 S. Patterson Street
P. O. Box 5166
Valdosta, Georgia 31603-5166
FAX (229) 245-2410
Here’s a VDT story about the local office by Dawn Castro 20 April 2012.
The candidate, Ellen Golden, said she was on the CAC board with Commissioner Evans, went to school with Commissioner Powell, she is a practicing attorney, and she went to Valdosta schools. She said she was contacted by Ginny Boswell a few weeks ago about being nomminated. After talking to Ms. Boswell, to the outgoing board member, and to Marty Giddens[?], she decided she was very interested.
Don Thieme clarified in a comment on this post:
Ms. Golden sounds like a good choice for this board. Dr. Marty Giddings is a professor of social work at VSU, my wife’s colleague. The child advocacy center is an important local institution although there were problems with a former director, Joseph Driggers.
Ellen S. Golden is an attorney with Allen, Kopet & Associates.
CAC appears to be the Deloris M. Parrish Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC).
Ellen Golden is modest; she at least used to be chair of CAC, according to Jessica Pope in the VDT 25 April 2006, Debt goes up in smoke: Children’s Advocacy Center celebrates successful capital campaign,
“We’ve worked hard for this day,” said Ellen Golden, chairwoman of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Lowndes County Inc. Board of Directors. “We have finally succeeded in raising enough money to pay off the mortgage, and we are really excited.”
In April 2004, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Lowndes County Inc. purchased property situated at 200 W. Moore St. at a cost of about $186,000. Bajalia and others worried about making the estimated $900 a month mortgage payments over the next 15 years, while making necessary repairs and upgrades.
Two years to pay off the mortgage ain’t too shabby.
Here’s a 2009 research paper about CAC by Jessica A. Mathews for a VSU class, which says CAC deals with child abuse with some success, despite problems of funding and lack of representation from the local cities. Ms. Golden is not mentioned in that paper, but Commissioner Evans was asked:
How would you describe your role and do you perceive that there may be an issue of conflict-of-interest since you are involved in over-sight of both organizations, especially as it relates to the Board of Commissioners granting funds to the CAC?
Her response was:
Children and the protection of their innocence has always been a top priority for me. I am the mother of five (5) and now retired owner/operator of two (2) Day Care Centers, one in Valdosta and the other in Tifton. I am also a certified childcare specialist and was appointed by the then Governor Roy Barnes to the Georgia State Head-Start Review Commission.
I believe that engaging in public service, having some influence on its development and delivery, is a responsibility that we all share as members of this community. I also believe that, in fact, it’s a part of my personal mantra, that all organizations should work together to best use the limited resources available. But using resources, especially public tax dollars, comes with fiscal responsibility, measurable results and a level of transparency, knowing what is done with the money, for the operations of recipient agencies.
I don’t believe that my dual role associated with both the CAC and the BOC [Board of Commissioners] is in conflict because any interested agency that is seeking funds in the form of grants have to meet the same criteria via the completion of a budget request packet followed by a formal presentation to the Board, which has to include measurable/verifiable results.
I am one of a four (4) member board, three (3) are voting as you know, and we all sit on various community [organization] boards in the community. My decision or vote, on every matter that is presented for consideration, has equal weight [the same value] with the other commissioners. There is no personal avenue of enrichment for me, my time and position on the CAC Board of Directors is an un-paid position.
My joy is realized, as I believe all of our community is enriched, when needed services are provided with positive results. Also, the Board’s action has to be in compliance with the [unfunded] mandate that the State issued for the creation of CACs.
Whatever I can do, be that over-sight or direct involvement through personal support and presence in support of the CAC, because they have consistently produced measurable results in helping the most innocent among us—our children—while also assisting the other part ner agencies in the prosecution of the perpetrators of these kinds of crimes, I have promised myself and my community supporters that I will.
2009 was before the expansion of the Board of Comissioners to five voting members plus a non-voting chair.