Governor Kemp today announced the formation of the nomination committee for Georgia’s child advocate. According to the Georgian Code, a nomination committee must be set up to recommend at least three candidates who are admitted to the bar. The position is open due to the resignation of current attorney Rachel Davidson, who has accepted a different position.

Under state law, the nomination committee must review applicants for the position and recommend at least three candidates to the governor for review. The committee will consist of Tom Rawlings, Frank Berry and Melissa Carter.

Frank W. Berry / Photo credit:

Frank W. Berry is the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH). In that role, he heads the $ 16 billion agency responsible for purchasing, planning, and regulating health care services, and improving health outcomes for Georgians. Prior to joining DCH, Berry was Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. He served in this role for over four years and has over 35 years of public service experience.

Tom C. Rawlings / Photo credit:

Tom C. Rawlings was appointed Director of the State Department of Family and Children Services by Governor Brian Kemp in February 2019, where he supports the efforts of over 6,000 DFCS staff to protect Georgia’s most vulnerable children and help families in trouble with the state. Previously, he was the agency’s interim director under Governor Nathan Deal. Prior to joining DFCS, Tom was Georgia’s Children’s Advocate for Child Protection and helped efforts to improve our state’s child protection system. Governor Deal appointed him child advocate in January 2017. From 2007 to 2010 he was also director of this agency under Governor Sonny Perdue. He is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Georgia School of Law and holds a Masters in International Human Rights Law with honors from Oxford University.

Melissa Carter / Photo credit:

Melissa Carter is Clinical Professor at Emory Law School and Executive Director of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center. She brings over 18 years of policy development and law advocacy experience, including efforts that led to the passage of the Juvenile Justice Reform Act and dozens of state laws to protect children. Melissa serves in various other roles on various national policy advisory boards, including the First Lady’s Children’s Cabinet, the State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, and several not-for-profit boards of directors. She also holds an additional teaching position as a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Morehouse School of Medicine. Melissa graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors and Juris.

Applications are accepted from Monday, May 3, 8:00 a.m. to Friday, May 7, 5:00 p.m. Qualified candidates should email Melissa D. Carter a resume to