Controlled at the community level, Family Connection is present in every county in Georgia. It is the largest statewide network of communities in the nation that have made a commitment to improve results for children and families. Communities In Schools, present in fifty Georgia communities and over 2,000 communities in the U.S., also controlled at the local level, is the nation’s largest dropout prevention initiative. For the last two years, Worth magazine named Communities In Schools one of the 100 best nonprofits in the U.S.
In our county, Family Connection and Communities In Schools are the same organization. We are a partnership of several organizations working with families to research the needs of children and families in our community, and to work together to address those needs.
Our Over-Arching Goal: All Children Will Succeed in School and in Life
We pursue that goal by addressing the root causes of problems, building on cultural and other strengths, pooling resources, engaging an extraordinary diversity of community members, and committing to a long-term process of planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Using a family-centered approach, schools, health and human service agencies, business, the faith community, law enforcement, nonprofit organizations, civic clubs, and others work together with families, focusing on academics, physical and mental health, nurturing parenting, economic success, and community service. We tap existing resources, streamline systems to be more efficient and effective, and initiate new projects like those listed below.
Department of Family & Children Services, Public Health, Athens Housing Authority, Department of Juvenile Justice, Chamber of Commerce, individual businesses, Juvenile Court, Police Department, Sheriff, Department of Leisure Services, Department of Labor, Catholic Social Services, YMCA, YWCO, Boys & Girls Club, Council on Aging, Child Abuse Prevention Council, Sexual Assault Center, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Department of Human & Economic Development, and many others. Our most important partners are the families whose children we are serving.
Some of the projects that have been initiated through this process:
- Pre-K Program
- Even Start family literacy program
- Early Head Start
- Homeless Education program
- Anti-truancy initiative
- Nutrition and health insurance outreach
- Summer Youth Program
- Community Partnership for Protecting Children
- Various welfare-to-work strategies
- Community Education Summit
- Unified Government, and School District
Working in partnership with families, we have tackled intractable problems like teen pregnancy, child abuse and neglect, school dropout, and physical and mental health disparities, with implementation by the partners (School District, Health Department, DFCS, Advantage, et al.).
Working together, our partners have achieved remarkable results. For example:
- Teen pregnancy – after increasing annually for many years – began moving downward when our partners developed and implemented a comprehensive, holistic plan starting in 1992, and is now 42% lower;
- We pulled together our partners to strategize about truancy; within three years of implementation of the strategies, the number of students absent more than ten days had declined by 23%;
- Thanks in part to our welfare to work initiatives, led by the Departments of Family & Children Services and Labor, the traditional welfare rolls in our county declined by more than 95%;
- With the leadership of Public Health in collaboration with other partners, childhood immunization has increased by 15%;
- The percentage of babies born healthy (as defined by Public Health) is up by 31%, and
- Child poverty is down by 12%.
Our success is our partners’ success – we bring them together, they develop and implement the strategies. Our most important partners are the families whose children are being served.
Please join with us through financial support (tax deductible) and/or active participation to achieve our goal: All children will succeed in school and in life.
About Georgia Family Connection
Georgia Family Connection is the only statewide network of its kind in the country with partners in all 159 counties working toward measurably better outcomes for our children, families, and communities. This gives us a unique vantage point—not only to see the big picture—but also to operate effectively at a local level.
We disentangle the mess of barriers, service gaps, and inefficiencies obscuring progress for our most vulnerable families. We do that by connecting our partners to resources, helping coordinate and manage efforts, and empowering our communities to craft local solutions based on local decisions.
Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) represents and promotes Georgia Family Connection’s work, provides expertise in planning and governance, administers the state-appropriated funds for the local Collaboratives, sets standards of excellence, and helps Collaboratives evaluate their progress.
The state’s designated KIDS COUNT grantee, GaFCP also provides state agencies and policymakers with current, reliable data they need to inform decisions about improving conditions for the communities they serve.
At Georgia Family Connection, we work to ensure that all children are healthy, primed for school, and succeed when they get there; families are stable, self-sufficient, and productive; and communities are vibrant, robust, and thriving.
None of these result areas stand in isolation. They overlap. By collaborating across sectors to address them, we nurture children and families who thrive in vibrant communities—everywhere. Because we work toward measurably better outcomes for everyone.