Welcome to the Premier Edition of the Strengthening Families Georgia Newsletter for Professionals!
On behalf of the Strengthening Families Georgia (SFG) Leadership Team and Partnership, we are pleased to share this resource with you and your network.
In early 2006, The Governor's Office for Children and Families (formerly the Georgia Children's Trust Fund Commission) convened a group from the early childhood education and child abuse prevention sectors to develop a two-year plan to utilize frontline early childhood caregivers as a means to prevent child abuse and neglect. The plan was based on the framework developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy and others which promotes Protective Factors and strategies within families to achieve positive child outcomes. The primary goal of the two-year project was to embed the Strengthening Families framework of Protective Factors in Georgia's early care and learning system.
How did we get here? With continued funding and the expertise of a multi-disciplinary Leadership Team and Partnership, Strengthening Families has seen steady growth and expansion in Georgia over the last several years. We are pleased to see:
- Collaborative state leadership teams applying the Strengthening Families protective factor framework in their cross-disciplinary efforts.
- Community organizations discovering the power of the Strengthening Families approach and protective factor framework to increase their impact and reshape partnerships.
- Parent partnerships producing changes in practices and policies.
As Strengthening Families Georgia continues to advance its mission and vision for equal opportunities and better futures for children and families, we look forward to providing regular updates to keep you informed and involved.
With best regards,
Governor's Office for Children and Families
Pat Minish, PhD, SFG Leadership Chair
Georgia Association on Young Children
Get to Know Strengthening Families Georgia
Strengthening Families Georgia (SFG) represents a partnership of national, state, local, and public/private organizations dedicated to embedding five research-based protective factors in service/supports for young children and their families.
Vision: All families with children birth through age five in Georgia have the resources and support necessary for a meaningful and successful life.
Mission: To utilize the Strengthening Families assets-based framework of Protective Factors in all systems, programs, services and activities supporting families with young children as the approach to achieving the vision. These five Protective Factors are the foundation for the Strengthening Families approach:
- Parental Resilience - Parents can bounce back!
- Social Connections - Parents have friends!
- Knowledge of Child Development - Parents know how children grow and learn!
- Concrete Support in Time of Need - Parents know where to turn for help!
- Social and Emotional Competence of Children - Children learn to talk about and handle feelings!
A large group of Strengthening Families Georgia stakeholders, organized into a SFG Leadership Team, Partnership, and Supporters includes over 70 representatives from more than 30 organizations. The Leadership Team, made up of 20-25 members, provides direction and guidance for embedding the five protective factors in all areas of related work via:
- Policy and systems change
- Data driven decision-making
- Integration and prioritization of work
- Identifying and leveraging resources
- Coordination and collaboration with similar state efforts
The SFG Partnership represents the broad range of partners that serve on SFG Work Groups and manage the implementation of six strategies for achieving SFG goals:
- Parent Partnerships - Building meaningful partnerships with parents and other family members at all levels of Strengthening Families implementation.
- Professional Development - Embedding the Strengthening Families Protective Factors approach into professional development, training, and technical assistance for child and family-serving professionals and staff.
- Child Welfare Linkages - Embedding the Strengthening Families Protective Factors approach into the work of the child welfare system, and building linkages between child welfare and early childhood systems.
- Early Care and Education Linkages - Embedding the Strengthening Families Protective Factors approach in the early care and education system, and building linkages with early childhood systems.
- Community Linkages - Embedding the Strengthening Families Protective approach into other services/supports provided to children and their families, and building linkages within communities.
- Evaluation - Tracking, assessing, and reporting the outcomes of Strengthening Families Georgia.
Strengthening Families Georgia in Action: Parent Café Training
Parent Café Training was brought from Illinois to Georgia on November 3-4, 2010 thanks to the joint efforts of the SFG Leadership Team members, Sheltering Arms and Georgia Family Connection Partnership. Twelve diverse teams were trained to use the Parent Café Model. They will each host a Parent Café in 2011 and mentor another organization to also host a Parent Café. So, just what is a Parent Café?
Love is Not Enough Parent Cafés are conversations with other parents about what it takes to keep our own families strong. They take place in early childhood centers and other friendly environments, and they're a safe place to talk about the "hard stuff." Trained parents lead the discussion as parent participants explore questions that really matter - about taking care of yourself, raising young children, and building strong relationships with your children. The Parent Café Model is based on the World Café Model for engaging people in conversations that matter.
The Parent Cafés taught attendees:
- An approach for engaging parents and families in conversations about themselves and their children
- A method for building protective factors in families
- An opportunity for developing parent leadership
This two-day training is designed to prepare attendees to offer the three Love Is Not Enough Parent Cafés, and includes a manual. Training focuses on facilitation and hosting, from preparation and set up, to the café closing and follow-up.
Upon completion of the training, the team agreed to offer at least one Love is Not Enough Parent Café by May, 2011 and to mentor/coach at least one other program/organization in the Parent Café Model by sharing their experience by July, 2011.
Teams represented many Georgia communities including:
- Morgan County System of Care
- Community Partnership for Protecting Children (Muscogee County)
- Sheltering Arms- Early Learning & Literacy Center at Dunbar Elementary, Atlanta
- Thomasville Community Resource Center
- Troup BELL (Building Early Learners for Life) System of Care
- Scottdale Child Development and Family Resource Center
- Cobb/Douglas Community Service Board
- United Way of Metro Atlanta
- Sheltering Arms- International Village Center, Chamblee
- Early County Family Connection FACES
- STING, Incorporated - Afterschool/Summer Programs
Want to learn more about Parent Cafés? Click here: www.ctfalliance.org/initiative_parents-2.htm
Strengthening Families National Efforts: Early Childhood Challenge - Race to the Top (RTT)
The US Department of Education released on May 25, the Early Childhood Challenge (RTT-ELC) state grant competition. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP
) and the National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds (CTF
) submitted comments about the opportunity. To view these comments, please click here
These comments are offered in support of parents in their primary role as children's first teachers and engaging them as decision makers and leaders-all principles of the SFG framework.
This project was supported in part by the Governor's Office for Children and Families through the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Grant Program (CBCAP). Points of view or opinions stated in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the Governor's Office for Children and Families or the Community Based Child Abuse Prevention Grant Program (CBCAP). The total dollar amount for this project is $35,000 and 100% of the cost is Federal funds.
For more information on Strengthening Families Georgia contact Jeanette Meyer, Strengthening Families Georgia Statewide Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org