A Georgia Family Connection Collaborative

Family Connection of Gordon County

Your Local Georgia Family Connection Collaborative Organization

Information You Need to Know…

Nine Tips for Talking to Kids about Trauma

After a tragedy like the Paris attacks, kids will have questions. How do we respond?


In a video that has gone viral after the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, a father comforts his son, who is worried about “bad guys” shooting them.

“They might have guns, but we have flowers,” the father says, referring to the impromptu memorials people had been laying out to honor the victims. “France is our home.”

After some back-and-forth, the boy ultimately seems comforted by his father’s words—and millions of viewers have been moved by the man’s tenderness, patience, and care.

The video reminds us that while we can’t always protect children from witnessing violence and tragedy in the world, we can comfort and communicate with them in the most healing way possible.

But many of us don’t always know the best way to do that—we may lack the confidence and presence of mind demonstrated by that father, later identified as Angel Le.

Fortunately, parenting and education experts have produced a wealth of resources for having difficult conversations with kids about tragedies like the Paris attacks.  Check the following link for nine tips to talk with your children. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/nine_tips_for_talking_to_kids_about_trauma

Opinion: Georgia’s Pre-K is changing lives every day
By Governor Nathan Deal –  As a father and grandfather, I want the same thing that every Georgian does: for my loved ones to have every possible opportunity for success. As Governor, I’m proud to lead a state that supports thoughtful, innovative educational programs that offer those opportunities to thousands of Georgians every day. One such program, Georgia’s Pre-K Program, has been helping our state’s youngest learners…

Read More at http://www.myajc.com/news/opinion/opinion-pre-changing-lives-every-day/8S7J0g4AbEpQEpAkqHcajJ/

HIV/STDs In Our Community   

In 2013, an estimated 3,011 adults and adolescents were diagnosed with HIV in Georgia. Georgia ranked 5th among the 50 states in the number of HIV diagnoses in 2013.

Untreated STDs are a common cause of pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and chronic pelvic pain. In 2013, Georgia ranked 9th of the 50 state in chlamydial infections and ranked 8th for gonorrheal infections.  Please review the data charts below –

Per CDC Georgia 2015 State Health Profile, https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/stateprofiles/pdf/georgia_profile.pdf

Chlamydia 2017

STD incidence 15 to 19 2015

Dangerous Apps and Your Teen

With the ability to access the Internet and download applications from the “App Store”, teens can innocently be dragged into danger! While the majority of parents are familiar with and know to regulate the more mainstream apps, such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, there are many other apps that your child could be using that are potentially dangerous. Here are a few apps to keep your eye out for:

Texting Apps

  • KIK MESSENGER:  This is a texting app that lets you to text for free – completely unlimited! (STRANGER DANGER!) There are many ways people can disguise themselves as someone they are not and easily communicate with other KIK users. This app was allegedly used in various high-profile crimes, including the murder of a 13-year-old girl and a child pornography case – That’s scary!!
  • WhatsApp: This is an app that allows users to send text messages, audio messages, videos, and photos to one or many people with no message fees or limits. (Another platform of STRANGER DANGER)

Micro-blogging Apps and Sites

  • Tumblr: This is a social media platform that’s like a cross between a blog and twitter. It’s a news stream full of text, photos, and/or videos and audio clips. Users are capable of creating and following “tumblogs” or short blogs that can be seen by ANYBODY online. Parents need to know that porn is easy to find here! While this social hangout spot can be easy to find creative ideas, it can also open a world of trouble. Self-harm, drug use, offensive language, violence, pornographic images and videos are easily searchable! These posts are most often copied, shared, and re-blogged keeping it online forever!
  • Twitter: This is also a micro-blogging tool that allows the users to “tweet” messages to other followers, users, or celebrities. While this is a good tool for keeping up with the latest sports information or news from your local area, it can allow teens to tweet in the heat of the moment – possibly posting something they don’t mean, which in turn could ruin their reputation later on. (Remember – it is out in cyber space, FOREVER!)

Self-Destructing and Secret Apps

  • Whisper: This is a social “confessional” app that allows its users to post whatever is on their mind paired with an image. Parents should know that the content expressed on Whisper could be very negative including topics related to insecurity, substance abuse, depression, and lies or “secrets” of teachers or peers. While this app is anonymous from the start, the “meet up” section encourages users to share personal information. (Not so “anonymous” after all)
  •  Yik Yak: This is a social network app that allows users to post brief posts or comments to geographically nearby Yik Yak users within a mile and a half away! Rumors, secrets, lies and opinions are common things to find while viewing the Yik Yak feed. Parents should know that many schools are banning access to this while at school because of the gossip, threats, and cruel nature that Yik Yak can hold.

Meeting and Dating Apps

  • Omegle: This is a chat site and app that randomly pairs two strangers together in a chat or video room. Parents should know that there is NO registration and the connections made are complete strangers across the world! Due to the site being completely anonymous, foul and explicit language and sexual chat thrives.
  • Tinder: This is a photo and messaging dating app that allows users to browse others users’ pictures for potential matches within their area. Parents should know that this site is all about getting ‘swipes’. You either swipe right to “like” a photo or swipe left to “pass”. If another person “likes” your photo too, then they are paired together. Meeting up is the main goal for teens and in-app geo-location makes sure they’re close by too. But beware – you just never know whom you will really be meeting up with!

So, parents, please be aware! Cell phones aren’t what they used to be anymore. With the advancements of technology, this generation of teens is experiencing complete access to the world at the touch of a finger. We encourage you to talk with your child about cell phone safety and share your expectations.

Originally published at:  http://www.heartsforfamilies.org/blog/blog-dangerous-apps-and-your-teen.aspx

Parent Power.   Teens say parents most influence their decisions about sex, according to new national survey data released earlier this week by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Teens age 12-19 say parents are more influential than friends, the media, siblings, teachers aSurvey_Says--Parent_Power--October--LETTER--imagend educators, and others, according to the representative survey of 3,038 individuals age 12-24. Other survey results include:

  • Both younger teens (52% of those age 12-15) and older teens (32% of those age 16-19) say parents most influence their decisions about sex. Friends are cited second most often by both age groups.
  • Non-Hispanic black teens (54%), Hispanic teens (50%), and Non-Hispanic white teens (43%) all say parents most influence their decisions about sex.
  • Those age 20-24 (27%) say friends most influence their decisions about sex; 16% of those age 20-21 and 19% of those age 22-24 cite parents.

See the report at –

Mom and Dad: It’s Time to Put Down the Phone! A recent study in the journal Current Biology has shown a connection between the time and attention a caregiver gives to an object, and how long an infant is focused on that same object. The study found that if a parent or caregiver is distracted during playtime by their phone or another electronic device, they may raise children who have shorter attention spans. Developing attention span is a critical ability for children, and is a known indicator for success in areas like language, understanding, and problem solving. This study is one of the first to consider attention as not an individual characteristic, but as something developed through social interaction.  For More Information: The full article can be found here, or a  summary of the article can be found here.

Georgia Family Connection Celebrates 25-Year Commitment to Health and Well-Being of Families and Communities

Georgia Family Connection—the only statewide network of its kind in the country dedicated to the health and well-being of families and communities—turned 25 this year.

“This anniversary represents a significant milestone for us,” said Gaye Smith, executive director of Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP), a public-private partnership that supports the Family Connection statewide network. “It’s a testament to our unwavering commitment working toward measurably better outcomes for everyone—healthy children who are primed for school and succeed when they get there; families who are stable, self-sufficient, and productive; and communities that are vibrant, robust, and thriving.”

This anniversary is also a testament to the strength of the relationships Family Connection maintains with partners in all 159 counties. “What we do is vital, because on any given day thousands of Georgians are sitting at tables across the state focused on improving conditions of the children and families they know best,” said Smith. “One of our core beliefs is that lasting change is local.”

This statewide network gives Family Connection a unique vantage point—not only to see the big picture, but also to operate effectively at a local level.

“Every community has families that need help at some point,” said GaFCP Board Chair Bryan Williams. “Their conditions improve when caring people come together to provide those folks with tools and opportunities to succeed. Every community has its own unique set of needs, and people rally around their own local needs with greater passion than they do arbitrary program goals assigned by an outside agency. I saw that in action when I served on the Berrien County Family Connection Collaborative, and now I see that across the state as a GaFCP Board member.”

Legacy  Back in the early 1990s, conditions for children and families in Georgia were among the worst in the nation. The private and public sectors—though working hard to improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens—weren’t working together. Georgia Family Connection was established to connect and convene key community members committed to improving the well-being of children and families.

“It was a privilege to work with Governor Zell Miller to introduce the bill to create Georgia Family Connection,” said Sen. Nan Orrock. “Today, 25 years later, I am heartened that this groundbreaking collaborative effort continues to excel in serving Georgia’s children and families so effectively.”

Fifteen communities volunteered to participate in the pilot. By 2004, all 159 counties had voluntarily joined the statewide network, and in 2003 The Annie E. Casey Foundation named GaFCP the state KIDS COUNT grantee.

“GaFCP is the backbone organization for Georgia’s statewide Family Connection initiative,” said Stan Schneider, president of Metis Associates, a national research and consulting firm headquartered in New York City.

“Through sustained guidance, support, and advocacy, they’ve mobilized the state’s community Collaboratives to collectively bring about significant improvements in key indicators like teen birth, high-school graduation rates, and instances of child abuse and neglect. This work not only deserves our admiration, but warrants national recognition and systematic replication.”

Reimagining the Future  “We have a lot to celebrate,” said Smith. “But we also have a lot of work to do. I believe Georgia is poised to do tremendous things for our children and families in the years to come to ensure that this state remains a great place to raise children and to do business in.”

Georgia Family Connection has 25 years of experience grappling with thorny or complex issues, making sense of it all, and getting results. Listening, learning, acting, and gaining wisdom along the way—wisdom it happily shares through stories, resources, and its statewide network. Family Connection will embark on the next quarter century by refreshing its brand and redeveloping its website to better connect partners to the resources they need to empower communities to craft local solutions based on local, data-driven decisions.

“Providing an infrastructure for communities to help themselves makes Georgia different than any other state,” said Williams. “It’s where we excel. Through this structure, our state has cultivated an effective resource flow for our communities and families. That flow is leading to measurably better conditions in all our communities—and is benefiting each of us as Georgians.”

Smith agrees. “I was born, raised, and educated in this state, and I love it dearly,” she said. “And I feel like it’s part of my responsibility, just as you do, to make sure this state remains a great one for all the children who will come after us.”

The documentary “The Beginning of Life” is now available on Netflix, iTunes, and Google Play

Looking for something new to watch this summer? Check out “The Beginning of Life” which is now available on Netflix, iTunes, and Google Play! This exciting new documentary explores early childhood brain development and how it is impacted by a child’s environment. The film features Gisele Bündchen and Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner James Heckman. The 90-minute film is supported by UNICEF and hopes to educate people about the important role that early childhood development plays in the likelihood of successes later in life. The film follows and explores the lives of families all over the world with different cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds and how the social and political landscape can effect the lives of young children.  Check out the trailer to this amazing documentary!

Georgia falls to 42nd

On June 21st the 2016 National Kids Count rankings were released. The Kids Count rankings reflect the well-being of children and families across the United States. The report tracks 16 indicators in four specific areas; economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. Georgia moved down two spots from 40th to 42nd for its overall Kids Count ranking. Although Georgia’s overall ranking declined, other areas, such as child health and child economic well-being, did improve. Rebecca Rice, Georgia’s Kids Count Coordinator, believes that “continuing investments in early childhood education and in school-age children, will help propel Georgia toward greater improvements”. For more information, visit the KIDS COUNT Data Book.


On May 31, 2016, Governor Nathan Deal, First Lady Sandra Deal, and Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs will call for families and caregivers of children to have heightened awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles. Since 2010, 11 children in Georgia have died due to vehicular heatstroke. For more information: http://decal.ga.gov/CCS/LookAgain.aspx

Housing Stability Coalition Meeting 

Too many of our working neighbors and friends, citizens, are under housed or doubled up due to the lack of reasonably priced housing. Citizens who have income either from their payroll, disability, child support, pension/SS earnings, or other source struggle each day to provide a stable home for themselves and/or their families. All are invited to participate in a town hall meeting at The Depot on Tuesday, May 17, starting at 6:00 pm. to discuss safe, stable, and affordable housing needs in our community. For more information call Family Connection, 706-602-5139.

Momentum Growing for Higher Minimum Wage


Georgians work harder and longer than ever before. Yet they still struggle to get ahead due to low-wage jobs. Raising Georgia’s minimum wage is an effective policy to put workers on firmer footing, giving them a needed boost as they work to lift their families into the middle class. The Georgia Senate Insurance and Labor Committee will consider the need for a higher minimum wage at 1 p.m. today in room 450 at the state Capitol. This fact sheet details reasons the time is now for state lawmakers to give working Georgians a raise.



1bac3bf8-3559-40af-9b2a-c621971f14ceNew Illustrated Guide

The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and Georgians for a Healthy Future today announce the joint release of  “Understanding Medicaid in Georgia and the Opportunity to Improve It.” In this three-part booklet you will find infographics, new data and compelling charts that simplify the complex issue of Medicaid in Georgia.
Part one explains who gets Medicaid in Georgia, how Medicaid protects Georgians during economic downturns, how Medicaid controls costs in the state and more.
Part two outlines Georgia’s opportunity to close the coverage gap.  Here you’ll find out what Georgia’s health insurance coverage gap is, how we can use Medicaid to close it, and who stands to benefit detailed by job sector, demographics and veteran status.

Part three details economic and social benefits of closing the coverage gap. Why is closing the coverage gap is a good deal for Georgia and the state’s economy? What are the savings other states realize by closing the gap? How does coverage affect a person’s financial and physical health?



Safe Sleep for Your Baby

Safe Sleep for Your Baby

About 3,400 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the United States.** Most of these deaths result from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death, such as suffocation. Safe to Sleep Campaign launched in 1994, formerly the Back to Sleep campaign

Mission: to educate parents, caregivers, and health care providers about ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death

Number of SIDS deaths: 4,669 in 1993 and 1,910 in 2011

The proportion of infants placed on their backs to sleep increased from 17% in 1993 to 73% in 2010*

The U.S. SIDS rate dropped by more than 50% since 1993**

* NICHD national Infant Sleep Position Study
** Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Safe Sleep Environment

To reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death:

–Always place baby on his or her back to sleep for all sleep times, including naps.

–Room share—keep baby’s sleep area in the same room next to where you sleep.

–Use a firm sleep surface, free from soft objects, toys, blankets, and crib bumpers

Learn more about ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death at http://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov


Apple launches Suicide Prevention App

Apple’s Siri is a phone voice assistant that allows people to send text messages, ask questions and find information, and place calls. Apple has just updated Siri to provide helpful information if users make suicidal statements like “I want to kill myself.” Siri immediately pulls up the phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and asks if the user wants to call it. If the user does not respond, Siri provides a list of local suicide prevention centers.

According to John Draper, director of the Lifeline, Apple was “extremely excited and interested in helping, and they were very thorough about best approaches….They advised us on key words that could better identify if a person was suicidal so it could then offer the Lifeline number.” The improved Siri response fills an important need since many people say very intimate things to their Siri especially when they are isolated, according to Draper. sprc.org/news-events/the-weekly-spark/weekly-spark-thursday-june-27-2013