Our very first Child Advocacy and Policy Fellowship cohort has finished! For six months, our inaugural cohort, which included a professionally diverse group of four champions, representing multiple sectors of the community (e.g. non-profit/civic organizations, school system, and juvenile justice) completed rigorous training in areas of the whole child and child policy.

Suzanne Harbin, Patricia Merritt, Angie Barber, Julie Hawkins

The Fellowship amped me up to do more advocacy. It gives you a stronger voice.

Angie BarberDirector of Network of Trust School Health Program, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

Being able to advocate for children and families: it all fits together. If you have sick children, you have a sick community.

Patricia MerrittCourt Administrator, Chatham County Juvenile Court

We all get into our tunnel vision or our silo of work. The Fellowship assures me that I stay cutting edge.

Suzanne HarbinDirector, Early Childhood Initiative, Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia

The Fellowship gave me a new zest and zeal in my profession. I wish I could bring back everything to my county.

Julie HawkinsLicensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified School Social Worker, Lamar Co. Board of Education

The Fellowship continues the feedback loop between Voices and communities in the state, and strengthens community champions’ ability to advocate for child well-being at multiple levels of government. Our four Fellows came from  Dougherty, Chatham (Effingham adjacent), Lamar and Whitfield counties. Each of these counties were featured in Voices’ Barriers to Healthcare for Georgia’s Children report.

The content of the fellowship is built around the “Whole Child” concept, in an effort to ensure Fellows acquire a foundational understanding in the following areas:

  • Policy, Whole Child Policy, and Equity;
  • Physical Health and Quality Care;
  • Mental Health;
  • Protection, Safety and Juvenile Justice; and
  • Afterschool, Summer Learning & Early Childhood Development.

The Fellowship focused on the whole child because we know that every child in Georgia can thrive when he or she is safe, healthy, educated, connected to family and community, and prepared to be a productive and responsible adult. Sustaining children’s ability to thrive requires the investment, advocacy and commitment of the entire community. We are thrilled to have such a knowledgeable and motivated group dedicated to advancing laws, policies, and actions that improve children’s lives.

The Fellowship wrapped in February with our four Fellows traveling to the Georgia State Capitol to meet their local lawmakers and see the legislative process in action.