ATLANTA – Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) Director Bobby Cagle announced changes to the Division’s senior leadership team today.

Cagle has tapped Virginia Pryor, the Division’s deputy director for Child Welfare, as chief of staff. As chief of staff, Pryor will oversee day-to-day operations for Child Welfare and the Office of Family Independence and System Reform.

Cagle also appointed Ashley Fielding Cooper as the Division’s chief operating officer (COO). As COO, Cooper will oversee all administrative support functions in the Division, including budget, legislative affairs, communications, general counsel and strategic outreach. Cooper previously served as the director for the Department of Human Services’ Office of Legislative Affairs and Communications.

Cagle also promoted Jon Anderson, the Division’s deputy director for the Office of Family Independence (OFI), to serve as chief deputy division director. As chief deputy, Anderson will serve as the lead deputy director for the Division and will be authorized to exercise the executive authority of the Division’s chief of staff in Pryor’s absence.

Cagle also promoted Jeff Lukich, the assistant division director for Field Operations, to deputy director for Child Welfare. As deputy director for Child Welfare, Lukich will oversee child welfare operations in the field and at the state office. His promotion fills the vacancy created by Pryor’s appointment to chief of staff.

All changes are effective July 3.

About Virginia Pryor
Virginia Pryor has 27 years of child welfare experience and has consulted with systems in 44 child welfare jurisdictions. During her time with Georgia DFCS, she has been instrumental in leading the Division’s Blueprint for Change reform efforts and played a key role in negotiating an exit strategy for the Kenny A. consent decree. Previously, Pryor was the principal of Immersion Consulting, a child welfare consulting group, and the senior director of strategic consulting for Casey Family Programs. Pryor has also served as adjunct faculty at Howard University’s School of Social Work and Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work, and has held positions on various boards and is a past president of the board of Black Administrators in Child Welfare.

A native of Seattle, Wash., Pryor holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Washington, and a Master’s of Social Work from Howard University.

About Ashley Fielding Cooper
Ashley Fielding Cooper has served as director of the Office of Legislative Affairs and Communications (OLAC) for the Department of Human Services since July 2013.

During Cooper’s tenure at DHS, she has advised Department leadership on legislative policy issues and educated state lawmakers on the impact of legislation on the administration of child welfare, economic assistance, child support and aging services in Georgia. She has successfully worked with members of the General Assembly on efforts to further protect children from abuse and neglect. Also in her role as director of OLAC, Cooper has ensured transparency with the public and managed the Department’s relationships with key stakeholders in the media, as well as with nonprofits and the faith community. 

Cooper is a native of Hahira, Ga., and a graduate of the University of Georgia. She and her husband Donn reside in Atlanta.

About Jon Anderson
Jon Anderson has served as DFCS deputy division director for the Office of Family Independence (OFI) since 2015, and has more than 25 years of experience working with eligibility-based economic assistance programs in Georgia. Anderson started his career as a food stamp caseworker in Clayton County, and prior to returning to DFCS as deputy division director, he was assistant Medicaid chief at the Department of Community Health.

During his tenure as deputy director for OFI, Anderson orchestrated systematic changes that significantly improved the administration of economic assistance in Georgia, prompting recognition from Gov. Nathan Deal and federal agency partners. Also during Anderson’s tenure as deputy division director, he has helped steer the implementation of Georgia Gateway, the largest information technology project in state history, to ensure further improvements to economic assistance in the future.

Anderson is a native of Pittsburg, Il., and a graduate of Murray State University. He and his wife, Kari, have one daughter and reside in Suwanee.

About Jeff Lukich
Jeff Lukich has 28 years of service with the Division, including four years as state director of field operations, four years as a regional director overseeing operations of multiple counties in Northwest Georgia and 10 years as a deputy or county director of various county DFCS offices. 

During his tenure as director of field operations, Lukich oversaw the quality and delivery of all DFCS programs in the field, including the operation of the child abuse hotline and the Special Investigations Unit, and managed more than 3,500 employees. Under his direction, DFCS has significantly reduced the number of overdue investigations, stabilized the number of children entering foster care and lowered staff caseload counts.

Lukich is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a graduate of Presbyterian College. He and his wife, Mary Beth, have two children and live in Atlanta.