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This Tuesday Voices and Family Connection were given the opportunity to present to the House Committee on Children and Youth. Looking at the fact that about one child out of five in Georgia lives at or below the poverty level, and that more than a third of Georgia’s kids live in a family where no parent has full-time, year-round employment, where do you start to explain the dilemma our kids face?

Both organizations are great resources for laying out the case. Both have access to thorough data, wherever it exists, and both understand the interrelation of kids’ issues to each other: e.g. Georgia can not be successful if we don’t have an educated workforce, schools can not educate kids if those kids are sick, hungry, or are under stress at home, society can not function well if families are not equipped with the tools and knowledge to care for their children, and so on and so forth.

The key is to help policy makers prioritize the help kids get is to make sure that evidence-based information is readily available and easy to understand. Beyond that, helping lawmakers understand the navigation of local, state and federal dollars and service opportunities so that they can allocate resources in the most effective manner is crucial. Both Voices and Family Connection are helpful and knowledgeable resources for such strategy. I hope lawmakers will take full advantage of the help we provide and choose to really make a difference in outcomes for kids.

Urgent Issues for Georgia’s Children in 2011 PowerPoint

The Governor’s FY2012 budget recommends consolidation and transfer of the Georgia Family Connection Partnership (FCP) appropriation from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to the Governor’s Office for Children and Families (GOCF). 

Georgia Family Connection was created 20 years ago to streamline services and systems that impact and serve children and families. FCP’s core principles are local decision-making based on reliable data, accountability, and leveraging resources.

The logic behind this move is baffling. Even today, at the Department of Human Services budget hearing, when Rep. Carolyn Hugley (District 133 – Columbus) asked DHS Commissioner Clyde Reese if he knew the reason for this move, he was unable to provide an answer.

FCP has a reputation for good, reliable work in 159 counties of the state and helps multitudes of children and families. It secures decent funding from the private sector (much of which would be lost if absorbed into GOCF) and has worked well with DHS. All that said, we are left with the inevitable question: What problem would this move solve? I don’t have an answer. Do you?


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