Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 38

IMPACT OF LEGISLATION/POLICY Examining the Rise in GEORGIA'S FOSTER CARE CASES By Tom Rawlings GEORGIA'S JUVENILE COURTS are facing a dramatic rise in foster care cases. Over the past few years, Georgia's laws and policies for addressing the needs of abused children and children in trouble with the law have undergone significant changes. Thanks to reforms prompted in large part by the governor's Criminal Justice Reform Council, more juvenile delinquency cases are being handled at the community level, often through pretrial diversion programs.1 Formal adjudications declined almost 30 percent between 2011 and 2014. In the area of child protection, the state has adopted numerous reforms, including those recommended by the governor's Child Welfare Reform Council. Among the most significant changes was the October 2013 adoption of a centralized, statewide intake system for public child abuse reports. Behind those positive changes, however, lurk challenges for county juvenile courts and especially for their budgets. While "delinquencies have dropped precipitously," according to Ocmulgee Circuit Juvenile Judge Philip B. Spivey, the number of foster care cases has increased dramatically. Statistics for Spivey's eight-county judicial circuit in east central Georgia bear out his concern: the number of children in foster care increased by 30 percent in just one year alone, between September 2014 and September 2015. 2 Spivey's experience in the Milledgeville area is consistent with what other judges and 38 GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT child welfare observers are seeing throughout the state. Overall, between 2011 and recent months, the number of children in Georgia's foster care system has increased from around 7,500 to nearly 13,000, an increase of more than 55 percent. What's Behind the Increase? As the chart on page 39 shows, the number of cases open for investigation at Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services ("DFCS") has been on an upward trend over the past few years. The bulk of that increase followed the institution of a new statewide call center designed to receive and route to local investigators all reports of child abuse and neglect. The central call number - 1-855-GACHILD (422-4453) - is available to the public 24/7. Since the call center's launch in October, 2013, the number of child maltreatment investigations that DFCS handles at any given time has spiked from around 6,000 to more than 13,000, a result that the agency has attributed to the effectiveness of the call center as well as public interest spurred by several high-profile deaths of children from abuse. State Child Advocate Ashley Willcott - whose office provides independent oversight to Georgia's child protection system - agrees that the increased reports result from "a well working centralized intake number with very little wait time." While the vast majority of those reports do not result in a child being placed in foster care, Willcott sees the increased reporting as contributing to the foster care spike. Those children removed are the ones who would be in imminent risk of serious harm if the agency were to leave them in their homes. At the same time, Willcott is concerned that the increased number of children in foster care may overwhelm the resources of the agency and of the juvenile courts. "Given there are not enough [DFCS] case managers and caseloads are too high," she said, "what I do see is delay in investigating cases, or delay in working cases, and or providing services, which means preventable delays

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Fall 2016

President’s Message
Director’s Message
Shaping the Future for Georgia’s Airports
First Responder Wireless Network Readies for Next Steps
GASB 77 Tax Abatement Disclosures Reporting Requirements
Reforming Sales & Use Taxes for the Digital Age
Drones Take Flight: Opportunities and Challenges for Counties
Examining the Rise in Georgia’s Foster Care Cases
ACCG 2016 Legislative Service Awards
New Cities and Incorporation in Georgia: County Implications
Newton County Partners with Action Ministries, Inc. to Provide Hunger Relief
2016 Summer Georgia County Internship Program Highlights
Transparency and Accountability: Being Held to a Higher Standard
Recycling: Still a Win-Win for County Governments and Communities
2016 Legislative Leadership Conference Preview
Successfully Negotiating Service Delivery Strategy Agreements
DeKalb County Recognized for Innovative Procurement Practices by U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance
Reducing Risks: A Look at the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office
Independent Contractor or County Employee?
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - cover1
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - cover2
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 3
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 4
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 5
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 6
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 7
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - President’s Message
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 9
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 10
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Director’s Message
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Shaping the Future for Georgia’s Airports
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 13
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - First Responder Wireless Network Readies for Next Steps
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 15
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - GASB 77 Tax Abatement Disclosures Reporting Requirements
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 17
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 18
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 19
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Reforming Sales & Use Taxes for the Digital Age
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 21
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 22
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 23
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 24
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 25
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 26
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 27
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 28
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 29
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 30
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 31
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 32
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 33
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Drones Take Flight: Opportunities and Challenges for Counties
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 35
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 36
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 37
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Examining the Rise in Georgia’s Foster Care Cases
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 39
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 40
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 41
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 42
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 43
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - ACCG 2016 Legislative Service Awards
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 45
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - New Cities and Incorporation in Georgia: County Implications
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 47
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 48
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 49
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 50
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 51
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 52
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 53
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 54
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 55
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Newton County Partners with Action Ministries, Inc. to Provide Hunger Relief
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 57
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 58
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 59
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 2016 Summer Georgia County Internship Program Highlights
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 61
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 62
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 63
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 64
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Transparency and Accountability: Being Held to a Higher Standard
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 66
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 67
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 68
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 69
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Recycling: Still a Win-Win for County Governments and Communities
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 71
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 72
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 73
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 74
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 75
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 2016 Legislative Leadership Conference Preview
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 77
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Successfully Negotiating Service Delivery Strategy Agreements
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 79
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 80
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 81
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 82
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - DeKalb County Recognized for Innovative Procurement Practices by U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 84
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 85
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Reducing Risks: A Look at the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 87
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 88
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 89
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 90
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 91
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Independent Contractor or County Employee?
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 93
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 94
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 95
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - News & Notes
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - 98
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - cover3
Georgia County Government - Fall 2016 - cover4
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