Georgia's COVID-19 Response & Policy Recommendations

Here you’ll find a collection of comprehensive charts that outline how Georgia’s child-serving agencies are responding to COVID-19. These guides outline what state government is doing to mitigate the challenges presented by this pandemic as well as lay out recommendations for actions not yet taken. We note key policies that can help children and families, and highlight the legislative or regulatory levers that enhance or prevent success. Because policies, waivers, and directives are rapidly being approved, these charts are living documents. We will provide weekly updates to maintain accuracy and help provide transparency for our government partners who may not have the time or opportunity to convey all of the information they wish.

Click here for our COVID-19 Parent and Community Resources page

Child Care

More than 330,000 children in Georgia participate in child care and early education programs within the Department of Early Care and Learning. Voices has made the following recommendations of policy changes that address the needs of children, families, and child care providers during the public health emergency.

Child Care Response and Policy Recommendations

Department of Early Care and Learning’s COVID-19 Response via our virtual GA-CALL

Commissioner Amy Jacobs

DECAL’s Coronavirus Webpage

Child Welfare

Approximately 13,000 children are in the child welfare system in Georgia. Voices has made the following recommendations of policy changes that address the needs of these children, their families, foster families, and congregate care facilities during the public health emergency.

Child Welfare Response and Policy Recommendations

Division of Family and Children Services’ Response to COVID-19 via our virtual GA-CALL

Director Tom Rawlings

DFCS Information on Coronavirus

Early Intervention

The human brain develops at its fastest rate between the ages of 0 and 3. Early recognition and response to developmental challenges have proven effective in reducing the long-term effect of these challenges on a child’s ability to thrive. Voices has made the following recommendations of policy changes that address the needs of children, families, and early intervention services providers during the public health emergency.

Early Intervention Response and Policy Recommendations

Education

The public education system is the institution that reaches the most children in Georgia. Voices has made the following recommendations of policy changes that address the needs of students and their families during the public health emergency.

Education Response and Policy Recommendations

Department of Education’s Response to COVID-19 via our virtual GA-CALL

Superintendent Richard Woods

GaDOE’s Coronavirus Webpage

Executive Orders

On March 14, 2020, Governor Kemp declared a Public Health State of Emergency in Georgia. Since then, he has issued more than 30 Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than half have had a direct impact on children and families in our state. Our Executive Order Area summarizes those impacts.

Executive Orders Summary

Federal Legislation

Both Congress and the Executive Branch are working to support Americans during this pandemic. As of April 1, 2020, three laws have passed at helping individuals, families, communities, schools, hospitals, businesses (large and small), and state and local government in response to COVID-19. Check out our easy-to-read summary on how these laws could support children and families.

Voices’ Federal Laws Summary

A fourth coronavirus package is being discussed in Washington, D.C. (as of August 10, 2020). Here’s a look at the two up being debated:

A Comparison of the HEALS and HEROES Acts

Food Access

One in five children in Georgia struggles with hunger. Food benefit programs through the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Child Services, such as SNAP and WIC, help address food insecurity and hunger. Voices has made the following recommendations of policy changes that address the needs of children and families during the public health emergency.

Food Access Response and Policy Recommendations

Housing and Utilities

Access to stable housing is a critical support for child well-being. Approximately 40,000 students in Georgia are considered homeless. That number is expected to rise given the economic challenges that have come with the public health emergency.  Voices has made the following recommendations of policy changes that address the housing needs of children and families during the public health emergency.

Housing and Utilities Response and Policy Recommendations

Juvenile Justice

Approximately 1,200 youth are in Department of Juvenile Justice secure facilities in Georgia. For these youth and those under DJJ community-based supervision, Voices has made the following recommendations of policy changes that address the needs of children and families during the public health emergency.

Juvenile Justice Response and Policy Recommendations

Department of Juvenile Justice’s COVID-19 Response via our virtual GA-CALL

Commissioner Tyrone Oliver

DJJ Information on Coronavirus

Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids

More than one million Georgians benefit from the Department of Community Health administered Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP). Voices offers the following recommendations to address the needs of children and families during the public health emergency.

Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids Response and Policy Recommendations

Private Insurance

More than 400,000 Georgians are privately insured. Voices offers the following recommendations to the to the Insurance Commissioner to address the needs of children and families during the public health emergency.

Private Insurance Response and Policy Recommendations

School-Based Health

More than 65,000 children, families, and school personnel benefit from school-based health services. Voices offers the following recommendations to schools, school districts, and school-based health providers to address the needs of children and families during the public health emergency.

School-Based Health Response and Policy Recommendations

Telehealth

Telehealth holds great promise in increasing access to physical and behavioral health services. Voices offers the following recommendations to ensure equitable access for children and families during the public health emergency.

Telehealth Response and Policy Recommendations

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Georgia is already experiencing an economic impact resulting from COVID-19 and related protections needed to reduce the spread of the illness. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a government benefits program, gives financial support to among the most vulnerable families in the state. Voices has made the following recommendations of policy changes that address the needs of these families during the public health emergency.

TANF Response and Policy Recommendations

Georgia’s COVID-19 Hotline

If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, please contact your primary care doctor, an urgent care clinic, or your local federally qualified healthcare center. Please do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility.

Hotline:

(844) 442-2681

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