Weekly Update February 9, 2018

AND THE BEAT GOES ON………at the State Capitol……

The good news is the Adoption Bill has passed and is headed to be signed by Governor Deal. Also there is more good news which is yesterday the House passed the 2018 Amended Budget. In my limited experience at the Capitol which means I ask lots of questions as I observe the legislative process, this means work will now truly begin on the 2019 Budget. That is where our Rate Increase will be.

We continue to work for both the Rate Increase and the Per Diem Increase for your Foster Parents to be more than what the Governor put in his proposed budget. I cannot emphasize enough that it will take all of us advocating for these by touching each and every Representative and Senator you, your board members, your supporters know. It means so much for them to hear from those who live and work in their districts. Many of you have done this and for that I am so grateful. Yet, there are many days left in this session so much works lies ahead for us.

The Per Diem increase proposed by the Governor is $2.5 per day, and we are asking for $5. Increasing the amount to $5 per day will result in an additional funding of $10 million in the 2019 budget. This request is the one that seems more likely to be funded. At least that is what we are presently hearing but that to could change. What we are hearing is an increase to the proposed 2.5% is less likely. That does not mean we will stop asking for and advocating for what is a much needed and much deserved Rate Increase for all of you who serve Georgia’s most vulnerable families and children.

The bill on competitive bidding is being tweaked. Just last night DFACs sent the proposed language to me and our lobbyists. As this Amendment moves forward, I will let you know. Of course if any of you hear anything from your contacts as to questions and/ or concerns, also let me know so we can address those when we are down at the Capitol.

It continues to be a privilege for me to advocate for all of you. I am in awe of the work you do each day. As partners to both DFACS, DJJ and DBHDD, you work to make sure every child in Georgia receives what they need and deserve. While as a Judge I appreciated what you did for the children who came before me, I did not understand how complicated it could be for you and your staff to meet state mandates which seem to often change and increase. I believe you both deserve and need a Rate Increase and promise to continue being your biggest advocate!!!


WEEK IN BRIEF - 2018 legislative session

Big news of the week in Georgia includes passage of the Adoption Bill, HB 159.   

On Tuesday, The House Appropriations Human Services Subcommittee received presentations from Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald) and Georgia Department of Human Services (Commissioner Crittenden & Interim Director Virginia Pryor). Director Pryor reported in the Governor’s budget a proposed $2.50 increase for private agency foster parent rates is in answer to the Governor's commitment. [DFCS foster parents received a greater increase last year and private providers anticipated an adjustment this year to ensure parity with the DFCS foster parent.] Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver questioned that $2.50 falls short of what the Governor committed to.  Director Pryor referenced that Cliff O’Connor could better speak to the numbers noting the money had been directed in other places to other priorities. Rep. Oliver responded that "The Governor cannot make a commitment next year." Together Georgia leadership had opportunity to testify at the House Appropriations Human Services Subcommittee meeting on Thursday.  Juanita Stedman, Karl Lehman, and Sheri Cody testified in favor of the private provider rate increase.  Watch testimony at https://youtu.be/ex7aASJuv8Q?t=1254

The Senate Press Office reported no action on "Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act" SB 375  in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee meeting held on Thursday, which was designated as a hearing for public comment. “The bill will be available for action before the while committee at the chairman's discretion.”

At the national level, the Family First Preservation Service Act portion of the Continuing Resolution became law.  We also saw passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 includes a five-year reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.

Patrick Lester from the Social Innovation Research Center provides the following updates:

SIRC, Evidence-based Child Welfare Legislation Enacted (February 9, 2018) http://www.socialinnovationcenter.org/archives/3153

SIRC, Home Visiting Extension Authorizes Pay-for-Outcomes Transactions (February 9, 2018) http://www.socialinnovationcenter.org/archives/3188  

(The above links are provided for informational purposes and are not necessarily endorsed by SIRC or its funders, including the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, which has provided generous financial support for these updates. SIRC maintains independent editorial freedom and control over the selection of all content. More information is available on SIRC's About page.)

TG legislative matrix 02.09.2018 - please forward to us bills you would like to include in the matrix. 


Daily Update February 7, 2018 - Breaking: FFPSA in House/Senate CR
Daily Update February 7, 2018 - Mandatory RBWO cost report training
Daily Update February 6, 2018  - Major Development for Family First Prevention Services Act
Daily Update February 6, 2018 - CWLA Children's Monitor 2/5/18
Daily Update February 5, 2018 - Georgia legislature passes bill making it easier to adopt



February 15, 2018 Family Preservation/Mental Health Provider Chapter meeting
April 24, 2018 - TG Board meeting
April 24 & 25 - Annual Executive Retreat

Member Calendar - https://togetherga.net/index.php/events/list-by-month/month.calendar/2017/06/01/-


Effective Teams and Collaboration

Together Georgia Provider Alliance in collaboration with The University of Georgia J. W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development offers the following training.  

Effective Teams and Collaboration
Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 10:00am - 2:00pm  
Program Description: Working together is crucial to ensure the best outcomes for children in care. This interactive session will help participants identify their personal styles, understand how their work preferences may impact others, and identify methods to improve professional and client relationships.
Presenters: David Meyers, MSW & Brendan Leahy, Ed.D.
Location: Youth Villages/Inner Harbor, 4685 Dorsett Road, Douglasville, GA 30135
Cost for training and lunch: $85 (TG members receive complimentary registration--email office@gahsc.org to request code.)  link to registration 
Contact office@gahsc.org

Mark your 2018 calendar for additional training topics:

3/29 - Leadership Development for Midlevel Managers
4/19 - Leadership for Frontline Staff
5/23 - Effective Supervision
8/21 - Working with LGBTQ youth
9/18 - Working in a Multigenerational Workplace
11/1 -  Telemental Health
12/4 - Autism Spectrum



Georgia Conference on Children and Families 
October 17-19, 2018 - Marriott Augusta
►now available - see early sign up for sponsorships at http://www.georgiachild.org//2018/gccfsponsorship2018.htm

2018 TG/Fanning training
Archived:  TG Salary Survey:  The 2016 survey is now closed.  Click here to view results (You will need to download the document and open it to view all of the columns.)


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 username and password that was previously provided to member agency directors. (Username 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. )


Together Georgia
 corporate sponsors/partners improve services and can save your agency thousands of dollars annually. click here to review.

An email newsletter as a public service Editor   

Our MISSION: Together Georgia is a preeminent voice in Georgia's child and family welfare policy-making.

Our VISION: Together Georgia will ensure that member organizations are equipped to serve those that their missions are tied to through distributing emerging data as well as by collaborating with key government figures and pertinent decision makers