What Are Georgia's Goals for Prevention?
When we come together with a common cause, we can make important conditions a reality. The following overarching goals reflect what the results of our collective action regarding Georgia’s families, systems/governments, and society must achieve in the next 10 years (2020–2029).
Goals for Families
- All parents and caregivers have the skills and tools to meet the physical, intellectual, and emotional needs of their children.
- All children have the tools, skills, and support needed to meet their potential.
- All families have equitable access to culturally responsive services and resources in their communities to meet their needs.
Goals for Systems/Governments
- Families are engaged in planning and evaluating child abuse and neglect prevention efforts.
- All community, commerce, and state systems have integrated policies, training, programs, practices, and budgets that promote family and child well-being.
- Systems collaborate and cooperate in planning and implementing a comprehensive continuum of prevention services.
- Permanent and adequate financial resources are equitably allocated to develop and maintain prevention strategies.
- All services and supports to children and families use trauma-informed, strength-based practices to reduce harms and prevent future risk.
Goals for Society
- All Georgia citizens are accountable for the protection and well-being of our children.
- Prevention is valued as essential and achievable with collective action.
- Society invests in children early and throughout their lives.
- Georgia has increased equitable opportunities and access to services and resources that foster child well-being.
- Social norms reflect a culture that supports and sustains safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments.
Strategies to Increase Economic Stability
- Expand efforts to develop safe and decent affordable housing for families
- Adopt/promote evidence-based family-friendly business policies (e.g., family leave, release time to attend parent–teacher conferences, on-site childcare)
- Expand programs and practices aimed at parents who are “returning citizens” (i.e., formerly incarcerated adults)
- Expand access to affordable childcare for parents who are working or in school (e.g., tax breaks for companies that offer on-site or subsidized childcare), especially for lower-income and hourly-wage-earning families
- Expand non-traditional programs and approaches to earn high-school diplomas (e.g., technical colleges)
- Expand opportunities for youth to explore career options before high-school graduation
- Expand small-business development and support programs
- Increase access to secondary (e.g., GED and high-school diplomas) and post-secondary degrees and certificate programs
- Increase adult literacy though the adoption and promotion of evidence-based practices and models
- Increase life-skills training for school-aged children and youth (e.g., financial literacy as a core competency)
- Identify and promote efforts to increase wages so that full-time employment does not result in households living at or below the federal poverty level
- Promote poverty-informed training for local and state policy makers
- Promote the development of positive and safe workplaces
Opportunities for Georgia
20% of children are living in poverty ($25,000/year for a family of four). Although poverty does not cause child abuse or neglect, children living in low-income families are at a greater risk of child maltreatment due to lack of resources and the stressors of poverty. Specifically, a $1 increase in the minimum wage implies a statistically significant 9.6% decline in neglect reports. This decline is concentrated among young children (ages 0–5) and school-aged children (ages 6–12); the effect diminishes among adolescents and is not significant. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0190740916303139
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Groundwork Collaborative’s webinar, Racial Equity and the Federal Reserve: Centering Black Workers for a Stronger Labor Market. Access it here.
Strategies to Increase Family Resiliency
- Expand evidence-based afterschool, out-of-school, and summer programs
- Decrease family violence through the adoption and promotion of evidence-based practices and approaches
- Increase access to evidence-based or research-informed programs for parenting skills and support that help parents/caregivers understand all stages of their child’s development
- Increase access to family-support services in emergency rooms and urgent-care facilities
- Promote access to broadband internet technology for parents and caregivers to secure appropriate child-development tools and resources
- Promote and expand comprehensive and specialized supports for families of children with disabilities
- Promote policies that ensure at-risk families receive evidence-based parenting education
- Promote strategies to ensure families can quickly recover from natural disasters and public-health crises
- Promote the development of transition plans for state-placed children and youth (e.g., Department of Juvenile Justice, Division of Family and Children Services), and engage families in the planning process
- Promote, link, and support information and referral systems
- Shape social norms around positive parenting and family help-seeking in times of need (e.g., public-awareness campaigns)
Strategies to Increase Access to Early Care and Education
- Develop and promote incentives for expanding childcare businesses in underserved communities
- Expand eligibility to Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS)
- Expand opportunities for childcare-enrollment assistance
- Increase access to Quality Rate early care and learning programs across the state
- Promote and support early brain development and language nutrition practices and models
- Promote universal developmental screenings and early intervention service access
- Provide language nutrition coaching and training for workforces and groups that interact with caregivers and babies (e.g., Talk with Me Baby)
- Shape social norms around the positive life-long impact of early-childhood education
- Support elementary schools in accessing pre-K slots in communities with limited infrastructure for early-childhood education
Opportunities for Georgia
Strategies to Increase Family Health
- Expand access to affordable health-insurance coverage for all Georgians
- Expand telemedicine services
- Improve access to maternal and infant health services (especially among minority populations) in order to reduce infant and maternal mortality
- Increase efforts to ensure school buses are safe (e.g., bus monitors)
- Increase focus on school-safety planning and practices (e.g., increased security technology) to focus on positive school climate and the development of Safe School Plans
- Promote and expand the participation of families in the Planning for Healthy Babies (P4HB) waiver program
- Promote evidence-based models of sexual-health education and adolescent pregnancy prevention for school-aged children and youth
- Promote gun-safety practices and policies
- Promote policies and approaches to ensure medical co-payments and the authorization of physical health services by insurance companies are not barriers to treatment
- Promote strategies and programs aimed at increasing food sufficiency
- Promote strategies to enhance transportation safety
- Increase awareness of prenatal support resources
Opportunities for Georgia
7.4% of Georgia’s kids don’t have health insurance and 22% have a parent who is not insured.
A 2019 study looked at physical abuse and neglect rates of children younger than six in the 31 states with expanded Medicaid compared to the 19 states without expanded programs.
Researchers found the rate of child neglect in Medicaid-expansion states decreased by more than three times the rate of the remaining non-expansion states.
Medicaid expansion provides caregivers with access to healthcare services, including access to mental health care and treatment. Additionally, expansion of the program allows states to receive federal funds that could cover additional services that can affect a parents’ ability to provide for their child. Future studies are expected to look at whether expanding Medicaid (and improved access to funded services) is actually the catalyst for reduced rates of child neglect and whether pursuing this option could be a way to reduce the rate of child neglect in states that have not yet opted to expand the program.
Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6575148/
Georgia is working to best structurally allow for telehealth. Telehealth expansion would give physical and mental health care access to many living in rural Georgia. To ensure the benefits of telehealth reach all areas of Georgia, broadband throughout the state will be necessary. This measure would support both the health of Georgians and small business in the state, both of which are priorities of Governor Kemp. Telehealth expansion could bring care to the 60 counties without a pediatrician or to the 76 without an OB/GYN care provider. Expanding care through telemedicine means care for children and families living in rural Georgia.
Strategies to Increase Mental Health
- Expand access to First Episode Psychosis (FEP) programs
- Expand specialty/accountability courts (e.g., drug, mental health, family treatment) with an emphasis toward ensuring access to behavioral-health treatment for all families
- Expand substance-abuse-prevention programs aimed at school-aged children and youth
- Implement and expand the use of evidence-based practices and approaches to reduce opioid addiction in youth and young adults (e.g., screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment; behavioral therapy)
- Implement evidence-based school-climate improvement strategies and frameworks in all schools (e.g., anti-bullying programs; positive behavioral interventions and supports; social–emotional engagement, knowledge, and skills)
- Implement practices shown to strengthen parent–infant attachment in the NICU (e.g., shared reading, Kangaroo Mother Care)
- Implement tele-/web-based mental-health and substance-abuse resources in underserved communities, and identify other strategies to make services more accessible (e.g., mobile clinics, Uber Health)
- Increase access to low-/no-cost community-based behavioral-health services for low-income families (e.g., substance-abuse recovery groups)
- Integrate practices that are designed to strengthen caregiver–child attachment relationship along the child-development continuum (e.g. Home Visiting, positive behavioral interventions and supports)
- Promote and expand evidence-based suicide-prevention practices and approaches
- Promote awareness and adoption of mental-health resilience strategies targeting at-risk youth (e.g., prevention clubhouses)
- Promote evidence-based behavioral health training, assessment, and treatment models for all ages (e.g., trauma-informed care, addressing implicit bias, empathy, prejudices, attribution)
- Promote policies and approaches to ensure medical co-payments and the authorization of services by insurance companies are not barriers to mental-health treatment
- Promote resilience strategies for children and youth (e.g. stress management, coping skills development, problem-solving skills development)
- Promote the inclusion of social–emotional learning in curriculum requirements
- Promote trauma-informed training for all school personnel (e.g., trauma-informed care, addressing implicit bias, empathy, prejudices, attribution)
- Promote trauma-informed training for personnel in all youth-serving programs (e.g., trauma-informed care, addressing implicit bias, empathy, prejudices, attribution)
- Screen, assess, and monitor language skills of all state-placed children and adolescents (e.g., Department of Juvenile Justice, Division of Family and Children Services)
- Shape social norms about mental health and how to recognize and seek help for mental illness and substance abuse (e.g., Mental Health First Aid) as well as how to support mental-health development
- Train mental-health providers to complete valid and reliable brief language screening (e.g., Children’s Communication Checklist, Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals) for children and adolescents as well as how to apply findings as part of the diagnostic process
Opportunities for Georgia
Strategies to Increase Community Awareness of Societal Factors that can Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect
- Enhance knowledge of effective framing and messaging of prevention information and policies
- Ensure medical professionals (e.g., nurses) are educated about the recognition of child abuse, accurate reporting, and trauma-informed care (e.g., addressing implicit bias, empathy, prejudices, attribution)
- Expand funding of programs and services for the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and promote policies that expand evidence-based resources across the state
- Expand local collaborations and advocacy across sectors (i.e., nonprofit, government, faith, business) aimed at strengthening families, developing solutions to local challenges, and identifying champions for promoting prevention policies
- Expand trauma-informed practices and resources across the state as well as increase understanding about the prevalence and impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and adverse community environments (jointly referred to as the Pair of ACEs)
- Increase awareness about human trafficking and related evidence-based prevention strategies
- Increase community knowledge and awareness of the incidence and long-term impact of childhood abuse and neglect, as well as how to accurately recognize and report suspected cases
- Promote child-friendly and trauma-aware practices in the courts, law enforcement, and corrections systems
- Promote public policies and practices that are broadly supportive of children and caregivers including those addressing father engagement and nontraditional families
- Promote quality standards for providers of prevention programs
- Use data to inform the development of prevention practices, programs, and strategies (including child death review data)
- Expand the delivery of evidence-based sexual-abuse prevention training for adults and awareness education for children and youth
Opportunities for Georgia
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) studies have brought light to the short and long term impacts of trauma on children in recent years. Integrating this knowledge into prevention efforts and trauma informed care must be the next step. Some practices in schools and medical establishments reflect these improvements to create protective factors and foster safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. Anything that strengthens families can be part of child abuse and neglect prevention. While it’s important to understand these problems, it’s just as important to understand how to prevent them!