logo for the SFG template
Fall 2011
Strengthening Families Georgia (SFG)


Strengthening Families Georgia (SFG) represents a multi-disciplinary partnership of nearly 50 national, state and local, and public and private organizations dedicated to embedding five research-based Protective Factors into services and supports for children and their families. SFG is funded by the Governor's Office for Children and Families (GOCF) through the Federal Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Grant Program. The Georgia Association on Young Children (GAYC), state affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), administers SFG and chairs the SFG Leadership Team and Partnership. 


 Our Vision


All families with children birth through age five in Georgia have the resources and support necessary for a meaningful and successful life.


Our 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.


The Protective Factors


Five Protective Factors are the foundation of the Strengthening Families approach. Research studies support that when these Protective Factors are well established in a family the likelihood of child abuse and neglect diminishes. Research also shows that these five Protective Factors build family strengths and a family environment that promotes optimal child and youth development.  
  1. Parental Resilience - Parents can bounce back
  2. Social Connections - Parents have friends
  3. Knowledge of Child Development - Parents know how children grow and learn
  4. Concrete Support in Time of Need - Parents know where to turn for help
  5. Social and Emotional Competence of Children Children learn to talk about and handle feelings 
NEW! Strengthening Families Georgia Fact Sheet - click here for a copy.
News From Our National and State Partners


Strengthening Families™ Opportunities in Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge


The Center on the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) has developed guidance for state Strengthening Families™ leaders applying for the the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant opportunity who also want to further their Strengthening Families work. Opportunities for Strengthening Families in the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge identifies 10 state objectives that align to RTT-ELC priorities and criteria. 


Strengthening Families leadership teams can use this guide to: 

  • Call attention to existing Strengthening Families work and identify "easy points" the state can earn by including information and data about their efforts.
  • Propose concrete policies and actions to broaden and deepen Strengthening Families statewide.

Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) is the lead agency in Georgia for the Early Learning Challenge. 


The complete RTT-ELC application is available online at the U.S. Department of Education's Early Learning Challenge website. The deadline for RTT-ELC applications is October 19, 2011. A newly released application FAQs document is available here. 


CSSP is also working with the  Early Learning Challenge Collaborative to develop guidance and tools for states choosing to go deeper into developing and infusing family engagement standards throughout the early learning and development system through RTT-ELC. 


Upcoming Conferences


October 13-15, 2011 - Georgia Association on Young Children "Together For Children". A statewide conference for child care providers, primary grade teachers, educators and parents of children birth through age 8. Gwinnett Center, Atlanta area. Visit  www.gayconline.org for registration information.


February 16-18, 2012 - Georgia Department of Education Family Engagement Building Connections 2012 Statewide Conference. A statewide conference for parents, educators, students and communities. The Classic Center, Athens, GA. For more information and to register click here.


Strengthening Families Georgia in Action: Building Parent Partnerships

Georgia State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge has named 30 parents from all over Georgia to serve on his 2012 Parent Advisory Council (PAC). 
As members of the council, these parents will meet three times this year with the State Superintendent to discuss education issues in Georgia. Their primary focus will be increasing parent and family engagement to ensure student success. 

The meetings will allow parents to provide feedback and input on new policies, projects, and materials that influence students and their families. The Superintendent's PAC will share the information they learn with community members, other families, and schools. They will also serve as advisors and ambassadors in their respective communities. 
Parents are nominated to serve on the PAC by their local school district at the beginning of each school year. Members are chosen by a committee of Georgia Department of Education representatives based on the applicant's response to questions. 

Resources You Can Use


New Brain Development Resources from the Center on the Developing Child


Brain Hero Video

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has released a three-minute video entitled "Brain Hero" which provides a visual representation of community and family impacts on the architecture of the brain, underscoring the importance of early childhood events in shaping future outcomes for children.


 Working Paper on Executive Brain Function

"Building the Brain's 'Air Traffic Control' System: How Early Experiences Shape the Development of Executive Function," is a new joint working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs. The paper explores the neuroscience and developmental research behind the growth and refinement of executive functions, possible disruptions to development and related policy implications.



October 2 - 8 is Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental illness affects one out of four families in some way.  It can include a variety of issues such as depression, suicide, panic disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even autism spectrums and Tourette's syndrome.   There are many treatments and services available to patients and their families depending on the type if mental illness.  These range from behavioral therapy, support groups, housing options, out-patient and facility based treatment programs, and medications.  There are special services for children or adolescents and veterans or active duty military.  It's important to match the need of the patient and family to the support service and program.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides detailed information on services that may be right for you or your loved one. NAMI also works on the national, state and local levels to provide legislation and services.  They also work to change the negative stigma often portrayed in the media of those with mental illness. Like all illnesses, the better informed the better one can care for themselves or their family.  For more information, or to contact the local office of NAMI, go to www.nami.org.    



Funding Information

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: strengtheningfamiliesga@gmail.com 
In This Issue
Strengthening Families Georgia
News From Our National and State Partners
Building Family Partnerships
Resources You Can Use