Tag: Foster Care

MIKE KLEINEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation By Mike Klein Has Georgia chosen a fast road toward its foster care privatization pilot project when a slower, more deliberate road might produce a better outcome? Is this the tortoise and hare story again? “All of us in state government at one time or another have been given an order to get something done in less time than you need,” says Mark A. Washington. “You work to achieve that but if more time was possible to design it differently or respond differently, I think kids would benefit.” Washington is managing partner of The Washington Group, a Georgia-based consultancy that works in juvenile justice, foster care, managed care and other policy sectors. Washington was… View Article
MIKE KLEINEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation By Mike Klein Georgia has published its foster care privatization pilot project request for proposals and a couple conclusions seem possible: Newcomers to child welfare service need not apply and it seems possible a long time could pass before any final decision about whether to privatize services provided to vulnerable children. The RFP published on a state website indicates initial contracts would be for one year, renewable for another four years, and applicants are required to estimate costs through June 30, 2019. The state will hire at least one but not more than two organizations to manage foster care in two service regions. The so-called “lead agency” will coordinate foster care service with sub-agencies… View Article
By Mike Klein MIKE KLEINEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Crystal Williams did not have a regular kid life. She had no father at home. Her baby brother died from sudden infant death syndrome. A grandmother and other relatives helped to raise Crystal and two sisters. Her mother moved the family from Memphis to Atlanta when Crystal was nine, then into and through a series of homeless shelters. By age ten she was in Georgia foster care. No, Crystal Williams did not have a regular kid life. Nearly two decades later she has emerged as a forceful voice for foster care youth. “Young people need permanent connections,” Williams said when she addressed the Georgia Child Welfare Reform Council last week in… View Article
Atlanta Journal-Constitution conservative columnist Kyle Wingfield and Georgia Center for Opportunity vice president Eric Cochling discuss eight issues that impact Georgians.  This conversation was recorded at our “Georgia Legislative Roundup” policy leadership breakfast on March 26 at The Georgian Club in Cobb County.  Segment introductions by Kelly McCutchen. Eric Cochling:  Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Success Kyle Wingfield: Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment Initiatives Eric Cochling: Child Welfare and Foster Care Reform  Kyle Wingfield: Traffic Congestion and Transportation $$$ Eric Cochling:  Education Funding and School Choice Kyle Wingfield: Georgia Income Tax and Pension Reform Eric Cochling: Medicaid and Access to Health Care Kyle Wingfield: Entrenched Threats to Innovation  … View Article

Day 38 Update: Foster Care Reform Bills Remain in Limbo

(Update:  Thursday morning the Senate Health & Human Services Committee chaired by Sen. Renee Unterman briefly considered attaching the SB 350 version of foster care reform to HB 990, the House bill that would require legislative approval to change Medicaid eligibility.  The discussion was short.  “I support the foster care bill that we passed and I am disappointed that the House hasn’t taken it up on their side,” said Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer, who then quashed the proposal to combine SB 350 with HB 990.  “I would urge that we continue to find other vehicles for foster care,” Shafer added.  No House or Senate votes on foster care legislation are anticipated today, which is Day 38 on the… View Article

What We’re Watching at the Capitol

By Mike Klein    Mike KleinEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation The General Assembly returns Monday for Day 22 with Crossover Day 30 scheduled for March 3 and adjournment scheduled Wednesday March 20.  Below are some of the bills related to recent Foundation policy proposals:   Criminal Justice Reform: With fewer than half of the Legislature’s calendar remaining, criminal justice reform legislation has not yet made its appearance.  The 2014 bill is expected to closely follow recommendations from the Council on Criminal Justice Reform.  Elements would include public and private sector enhancements to help former felons find employment.  The goal of this year’s legislation is program development to reduce recidivism, which is the rate at which former prisoners return to incarceration within… View Article

Fostering Better Care of Georgia’s Children

By Tarren Bragdon and Benita M. Dodd For a child who is being abused and neglected every day, every hour, every minute counts. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and State Sen. Renee Unterman are leading the charge to improve Georgia’s child welfare system, building upon proven reforms that are right for children who enter the foster system.   As individuals touched by the system – Tarren Bragdon is an adoptive parent; Benita Dodd has foster sisters – the authors understand all too well the clarity of the goal. From personal experience, these authors understand the need for Georgia’s child welfare system to be quick to respond to allegations of abuse, to allow families to remain together when possible through strong support services… View Article
By Mike Klein Mike KleinEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Georgia legislators will have an opportunity this session to discuss whether the state should implement a creative approach that would retain the investigation of child abuse claims in the public sector but enhance private sector resources for children who are in foster care custody. Senate Bill 350 introduced this week draws its lineage from Senate working group hearings that were convened this past fall by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle.  The legislation was assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee.  There is no first hearing date at this writing. How to care for children who are in child welfare services custody has been controversial for years.  Although the number fluctuates, about… View Article
(Excerpt from Rick Jackson’s testimony before the Georgia Senate Foster Care Initiative Working Group.  Watch on YouTube.) By RICK JACKSON RICK JACKSONPresident, Jackson Healthcare Thank you for the opportunity to discuss improving foster care. Everyone in this room believes doing what’s right for abused and neglected kids in Georgia should be a priority.  This working group is a further testament to that commitment and the willingness to tackle tough but critical issues.  That is why I believe there has never been a better time to purse a bold, proven transformation of our child welfare system.  Working together we can reduce abuse, keep families safely united and provide more kids with safe, loving homes. I know many of you on… View Article
(Excerpt from Tarren Bragdon’s testimony before the Georgia Senate Foster Care Initiative Working Group.  Watch on YouTube.) By TARREN BRAGDON TARREN BRAGDONPresident, Foundation for Government Accountability If you and I went downtown and somebody started hurting my daughter we would both immediately respond and stop him and do whatever it would take to help her because after all, my daughter Waverly is only six and she doesn’t deserve to be treated like that.  If we walked a little bit further and we saw somebody else hurting a little boy we would rush that abuser and immediately help that little boy. But somehow if that abuse happens in a zip code or a family that is far removed from our… View Article

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