Consular Breakfast: The State of Worldwide Baby Safety in Georgia

Georgia is becoming more diverse every day, as more than 10 percent of the population was now born outside the country. For diplomats posted in Atlanta and beyond, this means greater responsibility, especially in protecting the rights of their most vulnerable members: children.

But with changing regulations, complex international laws, language barriers, and relationship gaps between consulates and government agencies, navigating this landscape can become a challenge just when it’s needed most.

To join The Manely Company, Global Atlanta, the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services, and other experts at a personal, interactive, invitation-only breakfast roundtable to hear the latest on international child protection in Georgia and how consulates can improve their capacity to address child welfare issues long before they arise.

Interactive panel / speaker:

Tom Rawlings, Georgia Department Family and Children’s Services Officer – About the department’s ongoing contact with the Consular Corps, their language initiatives, and joint training opportunities

Javier Diaz de Leon, Consul General of Mexico – On the recently renewed agreement between Georgia DFCS and the Consulate General of Mexico on their cooperation on matters relating to Mexican minors

Michael Manely, Founding Attorney, The Manely Firm – On the latest developments in international child abduction, cross-border custody issues, and other family law considerations

Christina Iturralde Thomas, Managing Attorney – Atlanta,
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) – On legal issues relating to unaccompanied minors in the United States

* invited

Moderated by: Trevor Williams, Managing Editor, Global Atlanta

Who should attend:

Consuls General
Honorary Consuls
Consular officers dealing with family welfare issues
Other foreign government officials or local protocol experts

Speaker bios

Consular Breakfast: The State of Worldwide Baby Safety in GeorgiaTom Rawlings, Representative for the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services

Tom C. Rawlings was appointed Director of the State Department of Family and Children’s Services by Governor Brian P. Kemp in February 2019. Previously, he was the agency’s interim director under Governor Nathan Deal.

Prior to joining DFCS, Tom was Georgia’s Child Advocate on Child Protection and helped lead efforts to improve our state’s child protection system. Governor Deal appointed him to the post of child attorney in January 2017, and he was also director of that agency from 2007 to 2010 under Governor Sonny Perdue. A graduate of both Duke University and the University of Georgia School of Law, he earned his Masters Degree from Oxford University with Honors in International Human Rights Law.

From 2000 to 2007 he was the first full-time juvenile judge on the Middle Judicial Circuit, overseeing juvenile justice and child protection cases in five counties. After his first tenure as a state child ombudsman, Tom and his family moved to Guatemala in 2010, where he led a team to prosecute and treat child sexual abuse as Country Director of the International Justice Mission.

Tom is a former Fulbright Senior Specialist in Law and the author of Georgia Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: Policy, Practice and Procedure, which is regularly updated. Sandersville-born Tom and wife Kay now live in Atlanta and have three sons.

Javier Diaz de Leon, Consul General of Mexico

Javier Diaz de Leon, Consul General of Mexico, holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the Universidad Iberoamericana and a Master of Arts in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent, England.

Diaz has been a member of the Mexican External Action Service since 1991 and ambassador since April 28, 2017. During his diplomatic career he held various positions: Deputy Consul General in San Diego; Deputy Consul General in New York, Head of Migration and Hispanic Affairs at the Mexican Embassy in the United States, and Executive Director of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad at the Department of State in Mexico City.

From June 2013 to May 2016 he was Consul General of Mexico in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was appointed Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta, Georgia, in May 2016, and has held that position since June 18, 2016.

The Mexican Consulate General in Atlanta oversees the states of Georgia, Alabama, and most of Tennessee.

Michael Manely, Founding Attorney, The Manely Firm

Michael Manely has worked in divorce and family law for more than 28 years and has handled thousands of family law cases. He is admitted to all Georgia courts and federal courts in the northern and central Georgia districts, 11th District Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. On December 5, 2012, he held an oral hearing in the United States Supreme Court in the Chafin v Chafin case and secured a unanimous victory. Michael is the only family law attorney to have won a unanimous decision from the US Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Georgia. Michael has built an advanced practice for himself and is known for winning difficult, controversial, and high profile cases. He has successfully represented thousands of mothers and fathers on state, state, and international divorce, custody, and child support cases.

Christina Iturralde Thomas, Executive Attorney-Atlanta

Christina Iturralde Thomas is Managing Attorney of the Atlanta Field Office of Kids In Need of Defense (KIND). Christina helped open the office in December 2015 and has grown from a 3-person team to 11 employees. KIND employees and its pro bono attorney partners in law firms, corporations, and law schools represent unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in their immigration procedures. KIND’s mission is to ensure that no child stands alone in court.

Prior to joining KIND, Christina worked for the Latin American Association (LAA) as a personnel attorney representing unaccompanied minors before the Atlanta Immigration and the USCIS Atlanta Branch. Prior to that, she spent two years with the Immigrant Justice Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center and five years with LatinoJustice PRLDEF in New York, where she defended immigrant rights through state litigation.

Christina is a graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of Law and holds a Masters in Political Science from the University of Florida. She is admitted to practice in Georgia and New York.
In addition to work, Christina loves traveling (before the pandemic) and cooking / baking. She and her husband are raising their now two-year-old daughter in the hope of instilling her love for food, discovery and learning.