Families First Responds To Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s State of the State Address

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Families First Responds To Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s State of the State Address

Media Contact:
Kimberly Krautter
Direct:
404-229-1073
kimberly.krautter@familiesfirst.org

Legislative Contact:
Zach Nikonovich-Kahn
Direct:
404-428-9847
zach@familiesfirst.org

Families First Responds To Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s State of the State Address

O F F I C I A L S T A T E M E N T

ATLANTA, GA (Jan. 13, 2016) — Families First is one of Georgia’s oldest and largest statewide non-profit, multi-service agencies serving more than 37,000 children and parents by helping to break cycles of poverty and strengthen our state’s most vulnerable families. In response to Governor Nathan Deal’s annual State of the State address, Families First CEO Kim Anderson has issued the following statements regarding specific points the Governor included in his speech:

PAY INCREASE FOR STATE WORKERS
“Families First applauds Governor Deal for asking lawmakers to approve a 3% pay increase for state workers. Last year, Georgia suffered an 18% turnover rate among state employees which is a significant deterrent to critical departments like DFCS(Division of Family and Children Services) and DBHDD (Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities). Employee instability in these agencies seriously affects the safety of our communities’ children and families as well as our ability to provide much needed services and supports. A pay increase will help DFCS and DBHDD recruit and retain the best possible employees, and resources, so that we can collectively deliver the necessary services and innovative programs that ensure effective and exceptional continuum of care for Georgia’s families.”

HEALTHCARE:
“We are disappointed that Governor Deal continues to refuse to take the opportunity offered by the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid and in turn ensure that 300,000 additional Georgians receive much needed health care. By turning down the billions of federal dollars our state could receive by closing the coverage gap, it is more likely that additional hospitals, particularly in rural communities, will close, and our state will lose the tens of thousands of jobs that expansion would create or sustain.”

EDUCATION:
“Families First applauds Governor Deal for embracing the Education Reform Commission’s recommendation that QBE be replaced with a system that considers the unique characteristics of students—especially poverty—given that one in four Georgia children (27%), live with severe economic instability. It is well established that a child born into poverty is ten times more likely to remain in the lower socio-economic end of the scale. This is a cycle that must be broken. We look forward to informing state lawmakers about the unique needs of children in Georgia who suffer and live without access to basic needs.”

CRIMINAL and JUVENILE JUSTICE:
“The success of accountability courts and diversion programs have afforded more Georgians access to rehabilitation and the opportunity to and achieve more stable home lives and workplace skills, or as the Governor said, ‘turn inmates into taxpayers.’ Families First looks forward to working with the Governor and lawmakers on the recommendations from the Georgia Counci l on Criminal Justice Reform.”

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ABOUT FAMILIES FIRST:
Families First is Georgia’s leading nonprofit, family service agency, serving metro Atlanta for 125 years. We impact more than 37,000 of Georgia’s children and families each year through our 11 core programs. Families First fosters strong communities by delivering comprehensive and sustainable solutions for children and families –solutions that improve child well-being and family self-sufficiency. For more information, please visit www.familiesfirst.org.

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