Category: Foster Care

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 Georgia’s state Division of Family and… View Article
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 and individual families who provide foster… View Article
By Mike Klein 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 a meeting at Emory University Law… View Article
By Mike Klein Look at the little boy whose picture is on TIME magazine.  Sixteen years ago five-year-old Terrell Peterson was murdered by his grandmother and aunt.  Rather than love and care for the boy they killed him. Now look at the photo of the happy little girl. Last fall ten-year-old Emani Moss’s emaciated and burned body was found in a Gwinnett County dumpster after she was allegedly murdered by her father and stepmother.  Rather than love and care for Emani prosecutors say they killed her. Terrell and Emani experienced unspeakable horror before death. Their cases share another common factor. In both cases state child protective services officials had been warned, failed to take action and even started a cover-up… 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
By Mike Klein 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 7,000 children are in state custodial… View Article
(Excerpt from Rick Jackson’s testimony before the Georgia Senate Foster Care Initiative Working Group.  Watch on YouTube.) By RICK JACKSON 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 this committee but I… View Article
(Excerpt from Bill Hancock’s testimony before the Georgia Senate Foster Care Initiative Working Group.  Watch on YouTube.) By BILL HANCOCK Thank you for the opportunity to part of this conversation today. In a public – private partnership government focuses on protecting children.  Public agencies are free to focus on the fundamentals of child investigation, legislative oversight, private provider contract management, regulatory compliance and data information and management. Providers in partnership with local community leaders have the responsibility and incentives to understand the needs of children and families in their local area and to develop robust continuums of child and family service strategies like home visitation, family preservation, foster care, specialized care and other services based on the determined needs… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been a catalyst for common sense proposals—and elected officials are listening and reacting.

U.S. Senator Bill Frist more quotes