Daily Update April 29, 2016

2016 Executive Retreat April 26 & 27

"Peaceful" is the number one description of the 2016 Executive Retreat held at WinShape Retreat.

The retreat was attended by more than 80 Together Georgia members, collaboratives, state leaders and exhibitors.  During our time in this restorative setting there were many meaningful conversations on a wide variety of current issues facing our members.  Listed below are just a few observations and take-aways; 

During the membership meeting a new slate of board members were elected. 2016 Board of Directors

·        A state of Together Georgia was provided.  Currently the association is in great shape and is clearly becoming the preeminent voice for providers in Georgia.  Ron Scroggy's presentation 

·        Jamey Hitchcock, our spring intern, shared the results of a recent survey she did with current Georgia foster youth.  link to analysis  

·        Our lobbyist, Stan Jones and Helen Sloat provided a recap of the recently completed 2016 legislative session.  They emphasized the accomplishment of the 1.5% rate increase and how we need to continue to position ourselves for an enhancement in the coming year(s) to achieve full cost of care reimbursements (which may be tied to incentives for positive outcomes). link to handouts

·       Jeanne Ward gave an overview of the current draft of Together Georgia’s strategic plan, focusing on the assumption worksheets.  We still need volunteers for two of the work groups (one on mission and one on finances). link to handouts

·        There were four breakouts.  1. Toxic stress led by CHOA’s Dr. Jordan Greenbaum. 2. DFCS’s new practice model overview led by Lee Biggar. 3. DFCS safety issues with a focus on the new sex abuse registry contained in the recently passed HB 905 led by Angela Coulan and John Blend. and 4. Organizations in transitions led by Georgia Center for Nonprofits staff and Ron Scroggy.  link to handouts

·        The evening ‘fire bowl’ with root beer floats and s’mores saw many folks intermingling and sharing with one another in a very casual atmosphere.

·        The national perspective presentation by Laura Boyd with FFTA was enlightening.  She shared the current language in the Family First Act and what can be expected with the new DOL OT revisions.  Both of these potential federal funding mandates will cause major changes in how and what services are offered.  It will be imperative that our members stay abreast of both and plan accordingly.  Laura Boyd's presentation and Family First Act 

·        There was much learned during the two and half hours of discussions with key state leaders. Speakers included: Bobby Cagle, DFCS, Dante McKay, DBHDD, Jewell Gooding, DBHDD, Carol Winstead, RCCL, Theo Carter, DJJ, Keith Horton and Earlie Rockette with Amerigroup.

·      Many questions were asked of each.  Director Cagle stressed the importance of our members’ partnership with DFCS in all the work that needs to be done.  He focused much on the continued move away from traditional congregate care and towards more kinship care (his goal is 50+ %).   Additionally, unless approved by a waiver (requiring leadership approval), there will be expectations that all youth be served in their home regions, county and eventually school districts.  He seems to understand the need for appropriate transitional time and investment but was clear that these changes would occur.  He also fielded questions regarding the concerns about unintended consequences of the sex abuse registry that will go into effect July 1.  It will be critical that we work to try and make appropriate procedural changes in the future otherwise many youth we serve could end up on a lifetime registry.

·        DBHDD staff shared new initiatives being offered and Dante McKay the new Child and Adolescent Director introduced himself and his vision for working with the private providers. 

·        DJJ shared the recent pilots they have begun with several of our members in order to transition youth out of YDC and back into the communities.  It was      stressed that more providers are needed to serve these MWO youth and to contact them if interested. 

·        Amerigroup shared the past year’s service data and accomplishments.  The need for innovation and positive outcomes was stressed. Earlie Rockette's presentation 

·        There seemed to be a real sense of collegiality amongst all in attendance, especially during the mealtimes.  Networking was clearly one of the main attractions to this retreat for attendees. 

·        Much thanks goes to Carolyn for all her preparation and attention to details.  Without her this retreat would not have been nearly as successful.

·        And of course there were the eagles...Berry College Eagle Cam 

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