STRONG AND STABLE FAMILIES

 

Children enrolled in Georgia’s Pre-K program show significant growth in language and literacy, math and social-emotional skills.

 

Since 1992, 1.6 million children have benefitted from Georgia’s Pre-K program.

 

Every dollar spent on early childcare returns up to $8.60 in societal benefits.

Why It Matters

Nearly 14,000 of Georgia’s children are in the state’s child welfare system.

Children thrive when they grow up in safe, stable, and nurturing environments. To support the children in the state welfare system and to prevent more from entering, it is essential Georgia has reliable, effective, and proactive systems in place to protect children. Policies and programs that strengthen families, prevent abuse and neglect, and provide effective treatments for victims of abuse and neglect are critical to ensure positive outcomes for kids.

Where Georgia Stands

13,718

children are in Georgia's foster care system

41,089

students in Georgia were considered homeless in FY2018

56

of Georgia"s homeless students in 2017-2018 were Black

Children thrive when they grow up in safe, stable, and nurturing environments. To support the children in the state welfare system and to prevent more from entering, it is essential Georgia has reliable, effective, and proactive systems in place to protect children. Policies and programs that strengthen families, prevent abuse and neglect, and provide effective treatments for victims of abuse and neglect are critical to ensure positive outcomes for kids.

Our Priorities

Highlights of Our Work

Advocating for adequate funding and sound implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA)

The federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) has the potential to change child welfare systems across the country by preventing the unnecessary placement of children into foster care and ensuring children are placed in the most appropriate, family-like setting when foster care is necessary.

The top three reasons a child enters the custody of the Division of Family and Children Services: neglect, substance abuse, and inadequate housing.

Our work in this area:

Collaborating with state agencies to fully implement FFPSA

Voices is educating policymakers about the FFPSA, Title IV-E funds, and the impact making a shift to prevention versus reaction will have in a child’s life. During the 2019 Legislative session, the General Assembly appropriated funds in the Division of Family and Children Services’ budget to support initiatives focused on family-based care, as well as funds to support enhancements to the statewide child welfare information system and support for a FFPSA project management team. Voices is partnering with DFCS to ensure Title IV-E funds are fully utilized to provide families the services they need to prevent children from entering foster care.

Read more about FFPSA here

Ensuring all children are counted in the 2020 census

Miscounting a child, or any person, in the 2020 census will cost the state of Georgia $2,300 in federal funding every year for ten years.

Census data are used to apportion congressional representation, draw legislative districts, and determine how funds are distributed to important programs like Head Start, Medicaid, and school nutrition, among others.

Almost 22% of Georgia is labeled “Hard to Count,” or low response rate by the federal government.

Our work in this area includes:

Leading and promoting the issue of counting young children in the state’s two main census committees, local committees, and child-focused coalitions

Voices is the only child/advocacy group that is an invited member of the state’s Complete Count Committee (CCC). The CCC is developing an outreach campaign to increase awareness and census participation. The state committee works in coordination with local Complete Count Committees. Voices is leading the work to develop a strategy to improve out count of children. We are conducting this work in partnership with the Georgia Family Connection Partnership.

Conducting a statewide comprehensive outreach campaign

Voices, along with the Georgia Family Connection Partnership, is developing a strategic outreach plan. “Count Your Kids” educational materials and a social media toolkit are being developed to provide to agencies and organizations working with parents and young children. Beginning summer 2019, we will engage partners and reach into Georgia’s six most undercounted counties in Georgia for kids aged 0 to 4 and with the most undercounted demographic groups.

Educating state leadership on the importance of counting young children

Voices is committed to educating our new administration, key legislators, and the entire community on the importance of ensuring every person, including every child, in the state of Georgia. Historically, Georgia is one of the worst states when it comes to counting kids ages 0 to 4. This affects Georgia significantly. Not counting one person costs the state $2,300. More children counted equals not only more federal funding for Georgia, but more accurate federal funding. We are heavily dependent on federal dollars for our children’s health and social programs. Census data are also used to determine political representation in Congress. In 2010, population growth in Georgia meant additional representation in Congress. Counting young children is a critical way to help Georgia earn these dollars.

Disrupting generational cycles of poverty

By focusing on the needs of the entire family, rather than just on children or just on parents, we can disrupt generational cycles of poverty.

Nearly 50% of children in the United States belong to families with low income.

Our work in this area includes:

Promoting policies and programs that take the whole family into account

Voices intentionally sets out to examine the impact any policy will have on unintended recipients. We weigh the impact it will have on both child and parent. This two-generation (2Gen) approach to policy and programs disrupts the cycles of poverty and poor outcomes by focusing on the needs of the entire family. Any policy, program or service for parents or children, including those for early care and education, health, child welfare, and juvenile justice, can use a 2Gen approach.

Wins for Kids

Georgia funded a campaign to ensure every person is counted in Census 2020.
During the 2019 Legislative session, Voices secured $1.5 million for a publicity campaign to increase Census awareness in hard-to-count areas of the state. Additionally, $2.6 million in bonds were appropriated for technology upgrades to public libraries so Georgians can complete the Census online.
Victims of human trafficking will receive trauma-informed care.
Legislators authorized DFCS to provide care and supervision to children who are victims of human trafficking. Additionally, law enforcement and DFCS can now refer suspected sexual exploitation victims to a certified statewide victim services agency equipped to treat trauma.

Factsheets

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We are a nonprofit child policy and advocacy organization advancing laws, policies,
and actions that improve the lives of Georgia’s children.

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