Our Mission: Working in partnership with communities, policymakers, service providers, businesses, advocates, and families to improve the well-being of children, families and communities in Gordon County.
Our Vision: For Gordon County’s children to be healthy, ready to start and perform better in school, have stable, economically self-sufficient families and live in strong communities. Working in our local community, we are implementing a vision for community-based support, decision-making and accountability to build a better future.
Our Work: Family Connection is a linkage mechanism for the community to address problems and to share information for the empowerment of children and families:
- build and maintain relationships with public and private agencies and communities to share and combine resources, promote public policy, and improve services and supports for families;
- enhance public awareness, understanding, communication, and commitment to improve results for children and families; and promote “what works” using research and evidence-based programs that have proven to be effective in communities, while showcasing community successes.
Our Focus: We provide leadership through our commitment to:
- holding ourselves accountable for improving conditions for children,
- providing supports and services with a family focus,
- fostering collaboration among public and private organizations, and
- promoting local decision-making.
We are part of the Georgia Family Connection Partnership of county collaboratives, the largest statewide network of communities in the nation, which has made a commitment to improve results for children and families. Collaborative members are represent human service providers, community-based organizations, elected officials, business and civic leaders and families, and concerned citizens.
We serve as a support to the local decision-making body or collaborative and help to develop a plan with strategies to improve results in five areas:
- Healthy children
- Children ready to start school
- Children succeeding in school
- Stable self-sufficient families
- Strong communities
Our current initiatives/involvement:
- Teen Health Task Force
- Hunger and Homelessness Awareness and Prevention
- Community Summer Education for Youth
- Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness and Prevention
- Christmas In July
- Suicide Prevention Awareness and Support
- Mental Health Awareness and Support
- Chamber Leadership: Community Resources
- Community of Hope—Forest Heights
Gordon Family Connection Collaborative Description
- Established in Gordon County in 1994 and celebrating 26 years of service throughout the state with the Georgia Family Connection Partnership.
- Established the first Family Advocate Program in Gordon County and Calhoun City School systems through targeted case management. After a decade of success and collaboration, the program moved away from the Family Connection and became fully supported by the school systems in 2005.
- Established The Bridge program for support and assistance to homeless families in Gordon County in 2005.
- Established the Gordon County Suicide Prevention Coalition in 2011.
The Family Connection of Gordon County as we know it today is made up of a Board of Directors, an Executive Board, task forces work on important issues involving the families, and the Interagency Council—all stakeholders and partners in Gordon County.
The collaborative is multi leveled and complex:
Board of Directors—This group is made up of leaders from the following agencies:
Calhoun City Schools ∗ Gordon County Schools
Gordon County Health Department ∗ Dept. of Family and Children Services/Gordon County
Boys and Girls Club ∗ Family Resource Center/PCA Gordon
Voluntary Action Center ∗ Gordon County Domestic Violence Outreach
Juvenile Court of Gordon County ∗ United Way of Gordon County
Highland Rivers CSB ∗ LEJO/Leaders for Education & Justice Organization
4H of Gordon County ∗ Ray of Hope
Gordon Hospital ∗ Calhoun-Gordon County Library
The Council on Alcohol & Drugs
The Board of Directors meets on a monthly basis, except July. This group comes together to discuss issues affecting Gordon County families, to build community awareness of local challenges and successes, and to develop strategy teams to identify, evaluate and address common goals.
Executive Board—This group meets as needed to review the budget and make recommendations to the Board of Directors. The Executive Board is also considered the finance committee and includes the Chairperson, Vice Chair, Fiscal Agent representative and Immediate Past Chair.
Interagency Council—the collaborative of local human services agencies, non-profits, schools, courts, faith representatives and concerned citizens—meets monthly to share information about issues, needs, and events in the community. Interagency Council has been meeting since the 1970’s and has evolved over time. The meeting is best described as an informational, learning, and networking meeting.
Task Forces—Small groups are formed with collaborative members and stakeholder representatives to address issues in the community. Task Forces have included:
- Successful School Completion —A public awareness campaign was the product of this committee. Better known as GRAD, Get Ready Achieve and Dream. The focus is addressing school attendance and the graduation rate in Gordon County.
- The Bridge, housing the homeless—Working to obtain emergency housing in Gordon County evolved into The Bridge. In 2017, 85 families were housed. This included 149 children and 124 adults.
- Gordon County Suicide Prevention Coalition – After the death by suicide of several teens in our community, a strategy team was called together to seek ways to bring education, support and services to youth, teens and their families. The strategy team began work in 2011 and recently offered a free full-length film, SUICIDE: The Ripple Effect the story of Kevin Hines.
Family Connection has also initiated several products/activities –
- Community Resource Directory, over 28,000 have been distributed since 2000 and it is available online. In 2016 and 2017 Family Connection worked with Gordon County Schools to publish an English/Spanish directory with expanded information, definitions and contact information for area, regional and state service providers.
- In-depth community profiles are distributed to members of the community, elected officials, and the media to keep all up-to-date of issues surrounding our children and families.
- 0-5 Age Task Force – focus on child protection with information and resources to keep children safe from abuse and neglect, as well as a state grant for expansion of home visitation for parenting education.
- Annual Food Drives raise awareness of food instability and hunger in our county. Coordinated food collections with Calhoun City and Gordon County schools are the backbone of supplying the food pantry for the Voluntary Action Center. In the last school year, over 35,000 cans of food were donated.
- Teen Health Task Force focuses on teen issues including accurate information for parents and teens through a grant from Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition for cancer awareness and education. Other education efforts include teen dating violence, unplanned pregnancy prevention and awareness, STD awareness and prevention, and underage drinking.