Weekly and Legislative Updates March 4, 2016

Together Georgia Executive Retreat April 26 & 27

REGISTER today at https://www.regonline.com/er20150426

The State of ‘Partnershipping’
Partnershipping and all the meaning associated with it will be the continued focal point for this year’s exciting executive retreat. 
Together Georgia continues to pursue improving working relationships as we strengthen our partnerships. The two days will be full of opportunities for you and your senior staff to engage in meaningful conversations with leaders in our state and nation.Your Executive Retreat is designed to create a positive atmosphere where thought leaders in a relaxed setting can engage in meaningful and productive dialogue with our members in an effort to improve collaboration and practices for those we collectively serve.

Confirmed Guests 

  • FFTA Lobbyist, Laura Boyd (national update via live webinar) 
  • Together Georgia lobbyists, Stan Jones and Helen Sloat 
  • GCN strategic planning consultant, Jeanne Ward
  • State Leaders: DBHDD- Dante McKay and Jewell Gooding; DHS-Commissioner Crittenden and DFCS Driector Bobby Cagle; RCCL- Carol Winstead;  DJJ-Joe Vignati, Theo Carter, and Keith Horton; and Ga Families 360º -Earlie Rockette.
  • Breakout sessions presented by Angela Coulon, Lee Biggar, Dr. Greenbaum and Ron Scroggy 

We are asking our guest to come prepared to have conversation with us and we Together Georgia members to also come and share your ideas on how we can be better partners for the sake of the Georgia’s children and families.   And of course, there will be ample opportunities to network with your colleagues in the relaxed comfortable WinShape Retreat Center. We know you will leave the retreat both encouraged about the future as well as rested to better face tomorrow’s challenges.

 Registration required:   Please note there is a per person registration fee of $100 plus $90 for overnight lodging.  


Monday was cross over day and both sessions worked late into the evening to hear and vote on many pieces of legislation.  Some of the pertinent bills that did cross over were: HBs - 229 (grandparents’ rights to visitation), 725 (Child Abuse Records Protection Act), 825 (Protecting Military Children Act), 874 (relates to prosecution of street gang terrorism), 887 (establishes a relative placement preference for children in foster care), 934 (kinship caregivers’ access to apply for public assistance), 962 (creates the position of a kinship care enforcement administrator), 1070 (allows for certain information on biological parents in adoptions), 1073 (relates to adoptions and TPR proceedings).  SBs – 310 (Transparency in Education Act), 328 (alternative school stipulations), 355 (Student/Teacher Protection Act), 389 (changes lifetime max benefits for certain conditions), 409 (requiring all schools to post phone numbers for child abuse reporting). 

Some bills that did not cross over included: HBs – 915 (Centralized scorecard for all regulators of child welfare providers), 963 (Kinship Education Transparency Act), 974 (drivers’ permits for foster youth – it is believed this may get added to another surviving bill later in the session).  SB 3 (Supporting and Strengthening Families Act which was carried over from the 2015 session) did not pass out.  

Also included with this report is a tracking sheet from our lobbyist on many important bills that have been followed on our matrix.  This report contains a more in depth analysis of these bills.  

Religious Freedom Bills -

There are several bills which address freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  The one which has received the most press and has passed both the House and Senate is HB 757.  Changes were made in the Senate and the House has not agreed to the changes or made any move to appoint a conference committee.  If they take no action the bill will die.  Recently the Governor weighed in on this issue.  

The House bill dealt with pastors having the “permission” not to perform weddings or ceremonies that are against their faiths.  The Senate added a provision that has more explicit protection to churches to receive grants.  It does contain some “anti Blaine” provisions to prohibit denial of  grants to faith based organizations who exercise views or programs that are anti gay, but it doesn’t have some limitations on that such as requirement for 501c 3 status. The governor has said he does not like the Senate addition and there will be other changes in the next two weeks.  

Please refer to updated legislative matrix for these and many other bills.  Let us know if you need additional information on any legislation.

legislative matrix and bill tracking by TG intern

SALARY SURVEY  remains open - response from each member agency is requested.   TG members are requesting updated salary survey information. We are inching along and need a significant number of responses in order to be meaningful (19 agencies responded to date). The individual results will be confidential and sorted for distribution. 

The survey is linked at  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FTKRY5T 


Daily Update March 4, 2016 - State agency upholds big Medicaid contract
Daily Update March 4, 2016 - Children's Day At the Capitol 
Daily Update March 3, 2016- Together Georgia Annual Executive Retreat, April 26 & 27
Daily Update March 3, 2016 -  Child-serving positions data
Provider Watch March 3, 2016 -  Response Requested for Upcoming Practice Matters Meeting
Daily Update March 3, 2016 - Placement Provider and Foster Parent Survey for Amerigroup
Member Update March 2, 2016 - Georgia HOPE Welcomes a New CEO
Daily Update March 2, 2016 - Disney Junior’s “Doc McStuffins” and Family Experience the Joys of Adoption
Member Update March 1, 2016 - New CEO Appointed to Lead FaithBridge
Daily Update March 1, 2016 - Keeping Kids in Families Makes the News
Daily Update February29, 2016 - DeKalb County Board of Health seeking PREP program sites
Member Update February 29, 2016 - Senate recognizes CHRIS Kids 


Member Calendar
DATE CHANGE March 17, 2016 10:00AM- Family Foster Care Chapter hosted at CCS,CCS, 4487 Park Dr. Ste A, Norcross 30093
                              March 17, 2016 10:00AM - Family Preservation/Mental Health Provider Chapter hosted at Family Ties 270 Carpenter Dr, Ste 400,                                                                                                  Sandy Springs 30328 - Confirmed guests: David Newton, Beacon Health
                              March 22, 2016 1:00PM - CCI Chapter, 50 Hurt Plaza, Ste 1045, Atlanta 30303
April 26 & 27, 2016 -  Executive Retreat - WinShape Retreat 

Save the Date

November 2-4, 2016 - Georgia Conference on Children and Families   sponsorship opportunities


Together Georgia:

March 10, 2016 10:00AM - Mental Health Ethics and the Provision of Telemental Services: A Detailed Overview for Mental Health Clinicians
March 24, 2016 10:00AM - Mental Health Ethics and the Provision of Telemental Services: A Detailed Overview for Mental Health Clinicians 
March 31, 2016 10:00AM - Mid-Manager Leadership Development, hosted at Vashti, 1815 E. Clay Street, Thomasville 31792*
April 1, 2016 10:00 AM - Tele-health training for clinicians (to include supervision component)  - registration coming soon
April 21, 2016 10:00AM - Understanding the Health and Mental heath Care Needs of Children in Foster Care,  hosted at A Friend's House, 111 Henry                                                        Parkway, McDonough 30253*

*Registration for individuals:

Registration for organizations sending more than 2 or more individuals:


March 24, 2016 - Supporting and Understanding LGBTQ Youth


Dear Providers, 

OPM is currently seeking a highly motivated, results-oriented individual for the open position of Monitoring Specialist. Preferred candidates will possess exceptional oral, written and interpersonal communication skills, knowledge of child welfare policy, work experiences involving safety assessment, case management, and corrective action plan development. Interested applicants should visit dhsjobs.dhs.ga.gov to apply. No phone calls or emails concerning the vacancy please. 

Thank you,

The Office of Provider Management

Please note Together Georgia has a Job Bank to which TG members may post notices on the website at www.togetherga.net  The system is new and members will need to log in with user name and password that was previously provided to member agency directors - user name is the first initial and last name of agency director; password, if forgotten may be reset - reset will go to the agency director's inbox. 

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