Georgia's Department of Human Resources web site.
Recent Improvements to Georgia's Child Welfare System
- Georgia is getting more children adopted. In the last three years, Georgia has doubled the number of adoptions of special needs children from about 500 per year in 1996 to over 1,180 in 1999. For the first time, the state hired regional adoption coordinators to help counties finalize adoptions. The state also contracted with private agencies to conduct home studies and help the adoption process go smoothly. Georgia was recently one of only two states to receive the Adoption 2002 Excellence Award by the Childrens Bureau for innovative use of recruitment and placement strategies to increase adoptions.
- Georgia has streamlined the process of terminating parental rights to make children available for adoption more quickly. As a result, the length of time children stay in foster care from the time parental rights are terminated to the time they are adopted has dropped by 10 months, from 26 months to 16.5 months.
- First Placement, Best Placement is a foster care reform initiative that aims to put children into a more appropriate, permanent placement more quickly. When a child comes into foster care, DFCS works with others in the community to assess the childs family and the childs medical, social, psychological and emotional needs. Based on that assessment, the agency can then arrange for the best available services the child may need and place the child in the most appropriate setting. In essence, DFCS will make a childs first placement in foster care the best placement.
- Georgias Child Support Enforcement collected more than $368 million last year for children. The agency is not only collecting more money than ever, but it is also helping fathers become more involved with their children. The Fatherhood Initiative works with low-income men who are unable or unwilling to pay their child support. It offers counseling, training, job placement and a chance to play a supportive role in their families. During the first two years of this program, 450 fathers owing child support successfully completed job skills training; 80 percent of them are now employed.
DHR Office of Communications November 1999
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