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Investing in HOPE: The Blueprint for Reforming Child Welfare in Georgia



According to the latest Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT assessment, Georgia ranked 42nd among all states in child well-being, pointing to a need for greater investment in child welfare. To help address this crisis, Georgia’s child welfare system is teaming up with nonprofits, the philanthropic sector, businesses and communities to create a place where people share a vision of safety and success for every child – a State of Hope.

Last week, in collaboration with the Georgia Grantmakers Alliance, Casey Family Programs and SECF, the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services met with more than 30 local funders to share its vision for improving the lives of children and families in crisis. The meeting sought to support local philanthropic leaders who are seeking a better understanding of the state of children and families in Georgia and to cultivate opportunities for public-private partnership. This convening included a discussion with Division Director Bobby Cagle and other senior division leaders, as well as Stephanie Blank, the chair of the governor’s Child Welfare Reform Council. 

Because of the increasing challenges for families – including substance abuse, poverty and unemployment – and the demands on families, Georgia has experienced an increase in the number of children and youth who have come to the attention of the Division of Family and Children Services. Therefore, building and strengthening public-private partnerships at the state level and at the regional level is critical.

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Helping All Kids Succeed in School and in Life is Possible, and We Have the Tools

Author: Ellen Lehman


If we consider the learning process as an assembly line, our first reaction is to say that the assembly line is broken in high school – after all, that’s where dropouts occur.

But although high school is where the dramatic evidence of the failed system is obvious, that’s not where the break occurs, and therefore, that is not the point at which it can be fixed. By then, it’s too late.

If we move toward the beginning of the assembly line, we find that children unprepared for kindergarten often don’t achieve reading comprehension by the third grade and are, therefore, 90 percent likely to become a dropout.

There is nothing more stifling than a compromised beginning; nothing more tragic than a child whose possibilities are unnecessarily diminished.

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Southeastern Council of Foundations
100 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 2080
Atlanta, GA 30303

Visiting SECF:
All staff are working remotely at this time but can still be reached via email and by calling (404) 524-0911.

Monday-Thursday from 9:00am–6:00pm (ET)
Friday from 9:00am–12:00pm (ET)

Phone: (404) 524-0911
Fax: (404) 523-5116

Mission: SECF strengthens Southern philanthropy, welcoming our members to listen, learn and collaborate on ideas and actions to help build an equitable, prosperous South.