Georgia Child Advocacy Leadership Lab

The Georgia Child Advocacy Leadership Lab (GA-CALL) is a community of organizations contributing directly to policy development through investments in research and evaluation, advocacy and lobbying.

July 21, 2020: School-Based Mental Health Virtual Town Hall

School-Based Mental Health Virtual Town Hall GA-CALL

July 21, 2020

Our children are experiencing new and, in some cases, severe challenges related to the pandemic and school will look different in the fall – which means children’s access to mental health services could be more important than ever. On July 21, Voices kicked off our GA-CALL Virtual Town Hall Series! We partnered with The Carter Center and Georgia Appleseed Center for Law & Justice for our inaugural event featuring a Q&A on practical recommendations from skilled, working providers on what state agencies, providers, and schools can do to establish or improve school-based mental health services for kids – and how these services can look outside of the traditional in-school setting.

Building on Voices’ report, Supporting Children’s Mental Health in Georgia’s Schools, three providers from different regions of Georgia offered first-hand accounts of how they have grown their programs and adapted to current challenges.


  • David Crooke, LPC – CEO, CarePartners of Georgia
  • Chad Jones – Director of Community Services, View Point Health
  • Nicole Patten, LCSW – Youth and Young Adult Services Coordinator, Aspire Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

Special Guests:

  • Cheryl Benefield – Program Manager for Safe and Supportive Schools, Georgia Department of Education
  • Layla Fitzgerald, MS – Program Manager, Office of Children, Young Adults, and Families, DBHDD
  • Ashley Harris, MS – Director of Whole Child Supports and Strategic Partnerships, Georgia Department of Education
  • Susan McLaren, MPH – Assistant Project Director, Center of Excellence for Children’s Behavioral Health at Georgia State University.
  • Lashawnda Woods-Roberts – Equal Justice Works Fellow, Georgia Appleseed Center for Law & Justice

April 3, 2020: State Agency Town Hall

State Agency Town Hall GA-CALL

April 3, 2020

Government at all levels are developing and retooling policy at breakneck speeds to protect our country, our economy, and, most of all, our health during the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. Voices has developed a toolbox to help translate and communicate information about how to navigate our changed environment, how to find what assistance is available, and how to identify and ask for what we need.

Voices developed a comprehensive dashboard that shows where the state is and is not in terms of COVID-19 response.

In our virtual GA-CALL, hear directly from state agency leadership from Georgia’s child-serving agencies. Each video below features answers on questions ranging from child care and juvenile justice, to education and child welfare.

Dr. Erica Fener Sitkoff and Polly McKinney welcome you to our virtual GA-CALL

January 13, 2020: Pre-Legislative Session GA-CALL

January 13, 2020

Pre-Legislative Session GA-CALL

Voices’ Pre-Legislative Session GA-CALL, “2020 Forecast for Children: Upcoming Issues for Georgia’s Kids,” featured a panel of state lawmakers and agency leadership. Check out the Facebook livestream of the event below!

GA-CALL Objectives:

To Educate: Because we deserve to know the details about the challenges children have and what can be done.

To Convene: Because we are stronger together.

To Influence: Because changing the laws, investments and priorities of Georgia will make the lives of our children better and the future of our state stronger.