Saturday, June 20, 2009

Georgia achieves highest marks yet on child welfare report

Georgia has received its highest marks yet for improving child welfare in Fulton and DeKalb counties in a report released June 19 by court monitors tracking the State’s progress in fulfilling the provisions of the “Kenny A.” consent decree.

Specifically, the Department of Human Resources (DHR) Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) improved in child safety, finding permanent homes for children, reducing the number of children who re-enter foster care and education. DFCS also surpassed the consent decree’s maltreatment in care standard and demonstrated the highest level of performance yet recorded on all child safety outcomes. Significantly, the report concluded that more children were achieving safe, lifelong connections with caring adults than at any time since the Period II report in December 2006. Also, the number of children re-entering the foster care system is the lowest ever measured for the consent decree. Another major indicator was the number of youth graduating from high school or receiving their GED, which increased by more than 21 percent in 2008.

The report, known as the Period VI Monitoring Report, used 28 outcomes to measure DFCS’ performance in specific areas of children welfare between July 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008. According to the report, DFCS’ overall performance in Period VI was the best yet measured in the consent decree’s six reporting periods.

“Although we have made great strides, there is still work that needs to be done to provide all children in our care with permanent homes and safety from abuse” said Mark A. Washington, DHR assistant commissioner and director of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS).

“The strides we have made on the ‘Kenny A.’ consent decree mirrors the overall progress the state has made in child welfare since 2004,” said B.J. Walker, DHR commissioner. “Today, there are fewer children in foster care, more children are being placed with relatives, the recurrence of child maltreatment is well below the national average and the average caseload per caseworker has significantly decreased. These aren’t just figures on a piece of paper. These are achievements that have enhanced the lives of Georgia’s children and their families.”

The Period VI Monitoring Report details opportunities for improvement in key areas, including the number of caseloads per case manager, the timeliness of permanency hearings and the monitoring of maltreatment reports in DFCS-supervised foster homes.

To address the increase in caseloads, DHR has given priority to filling critical positions like case managers in Fulton and DeKalb counties.

The “Kenny A.” consent decree is the result of a class action lawsuit filed in June 2002, on behalf of children in foster care in Fulton and DeKalb counties. A settlement agreement was reached with state officials in July 2005.

Georgia Front Page
Fayette Front Page
Arts Across Georgia

No comments: