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Chris Hempfling Applies the Four Way Test to Protect Georgia Children

President Kimberly Weaver presented Mr. Chris Hempfling, who joined Rotary of Atlanta West End last year, for his Classification Talk. Chris began by emphasizing The Four Way Test, which he learned from Rotary and believes descriptive of what he works on everyday – and that he’s totally in alignment with it in his complicated work in state government. He has spent lots of time getting ready for the big job he now has as Chief Legal Counsel and Deputy Director of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, one of the largest agencies of state government with more than 8,000 employees. Chris got there through a huge commitment to education in college beginning at THE!!! Ohio State University majoring in political science, which led him to earn an MBA at Otterbein University, which then led him to law school at the University of Dayton. Along the way he studied civic engagement at the Jane Addams Center at Rockford College in Illinois. Chris noted that Jane Addams was the first female at the College and arguably the most renowned social worker in U.S. history. Chris came to Atlanta, because Michele, his wife, secured a job at Emory University at Oxford. As a lawyer he soon connected with the Newton County government and prosecuted child abuse and neglect cases, eventually becoming the Special Assistant Attorney General (SAAG) in Newton County, which is linked to the Governor’s office. In 2018 Chris became the general counsel for the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services – then adding soon the title of Assistant Director of GA DFCS, whose budge runs about $1.4B. DFCS handles much of the work for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – TANF, the state’s Medicaid health program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program –SNAP – aka food stamps. His day-to-day work, and the quality and quantity of activity with the states' lower income population convinces him not only is everyday a Four Way Test day, given the decisions needed for the best that can be done for the poor, but also he feels there’s nothing more important that can be done as a citizen committed to responsible and right actions than the massive amount of work and the life-changing responsibilities that DFACS shoulders. There are thousands of child abuse and neglect cases every month, large numbers of people affected by the Coronavirus – all of this directly affects not only the health of huge numbers of children but also their educational experiences. Fortunately Chris says, Georgia’s legislators respect the work of DFCS and support the complex policy and leadership issues DFCS faces. Finally, Chris says he’s certain U.S. Representative John Lewis and the Reverend C.T. Vivian, our late and saintly leaders, are smiling at the hard work being done by DFCS.

Posted by Neil Shorthouse
July 24, 2020 2:00pm

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