ASPA Honors GaFCP Executive Director Gaye Smith During Public Service Recognition Week

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North Georgia’s professional society for public employees is celebrating Public Service Recognition Week (May 3?9) by spotlighting the outstanding work of Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) Executive Director Gaye Morris Smith.

“Many more messages are directed to the public about the misconduct of people in public service than about the genuine contributions public employees make to the general welfare,” said William E. Baker, president of the Georgia Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and political science and public administration faculty member at Kennesaw State University. “That’s why ASPA and the Georgia Chapter are committed to observing Public Service Recognition Week and to bringing to the public’s attention stories like the one that highlights Gaye’s dedicated efforts to improve conditions for Georgia’s children and families.”

Celebrated since 1985, Public Service Recognition Week is a nationwide public education campaign honoring the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county, and local government employees, and ensure that our government is the best in the world. Each year, the president and Congress designate the first full week of May as PSRW and activities are held nationwide and around the world in celebration of those who put service above self. From the steps of the Capitol to the smallest towns, public servants use the week to educate citizens about the work that they do and why they have chosen public service careers.

“It is always nice for your contributions to be recognized,” said Smith when she received the award. “But to be recognized by your colleagues who fully understand and appreciate the commitment and passion that work in public service requires is truly an honor. I must acknowledge the many teachers, professors, and mentors, both inside and outside of this room who have taken the time to coach me and advise me over the years in both the art and science of public administration and leadership.  Their guidance and mentoring prepared me to tackle some of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make during our current fiscal challenges.”

GaFCP brings together more than 3,000 local and state-level partners committed to strengthening children and families so they can learn from their peers, share resources, and replicate best practices. It is a public/private initiative, created by the state government and private organizations in 1991, and legally organized as a private, nonprofit organization.

GaFCP represents and promotes the work of Georgia Family Connection, a strong, unified statewide network—the only one of its kind in the nation—that improves local decision-making rooted in community priorities. The collaborative organizations in this network, which branches out into all 159 counties in Georgia, are committed to improving the quality of life in their communities.

Each collaborative organization serves as the local decision-making body, bringing community partners together to develop, implement, and evaluate plans that address the serious challenges facing Georgia’s children and families.

They accomplish that by building a team of diverse partners committed to improving the quality of life in their communities. Each collaborative coordinates a planning process that identifies needs and resources, sets goals and priorities, evaluates programs and practices, and measures and reports results for their county. Every day Georgia Family Connection draws in its 20 years experience to bring into focus its vision of a Georgia where all children are healthy, ready to start school and do well when they get there, and where every family is stable and self-sufficient by:

  • Working together in Georgia for community progress. Each county collaborative involves many community partners in developing, implementing, and evaluating strategic plans that address the serious challenges facing children and families.
  • Sharing and use resources more effectively. Each collaborative serves as the local decision-making body, determining desired results, setting priorities to achieve those results, allocating resources, and holding itself accountable for child and family well-being in the community.
  • Using current, reliable data to inform decisions and improve results. Collaborative work is driven by KIDS COUNT measures of how well Georgia’s children, families and communities are faring. Georgia KIDS COUNT is a database of information for monitoring the physical, social, economic, and educational well-being of children and families. KIDS COUNT is a state and national effort funded by Annie E. Casey Foundation to track the status of children. GaFCP is the state’s designated KIDS COUNT grantee.

Georgia Family Connection has turned state appropriations into the basis for leveraging to private organizations. In FY 2002, for example, the state government invested $10.3 million in Family Connection collaboratives. As a result, the collaboratives leveraged an additional $25.8 million from other local, state, federal and private resources.

“Something not to be proud of is the fact that Georgia ranks 42nd in the country in the care of our children,” said Smith.  “We have ranked in the bottom ten consistently since the ranking began in 1991.  As a Georgian, I find that concerning; even alarming.  I would ask that in the roles that many of you play as decision-makers, policymakers, and educating those who will be decision-makers and policymakers one day you consider that when you are thinking of or advocating for critical public investments in our state.”

Since 1939 ASPA has been been the nation’s most respected society representing all forums in the public service arena.  ASPA believes that by embracing new ideas, addressing key public service issues, and promoting change at both the local and international levels, they can enhance the quality of lives worldwide.

Read Gaye Morris Smith’s bio.

Learn more about GaFCP.


Barry D. Friedman, Ph.D.
Secretary-Treasurer, Georgia Chapter—ASPA
Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice
North Georgia College & State University

William Valladares
GaFCP Communications Coordinator

404-527-7394 (x114)