Region 8 says Family Connection is Fiscal Conservatism at its Best

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Region 8 group shot

From left: Sen. Joshua McKoon, Karen Moore, Lynn Woodruff, Annetta Berry, Rep. Debbie Buckner, Michael Johnson, Sen. Ed Harbison, Dot Humphrey-Bass, Robert Patrick, Sherry Witherington, Kathy O’Neal

This has been one of the most challenging legislative sessions I’ve experienced in my role as policy director. But, this Tuesday I got a shot of encouragement and resolve hanging out with Family Connection collaborative coordinators and chairs from southwest Georgia when they converged on the state Capitol to talk about the families they serve and to thank their legislators for supporting their work.

Sen. Freddie Sims talks with Reg. 8
Sen. Freddie Sims (left), chats with Sara Lee Crumbs, Dot Humphrey-Bass, and Michael Johnson

They traveled from as far as Quitman County for a meeting with their legislative delegation.  Michael Johnson, executive director of Columbus Family Connection, kicked off the meeting by sharing an overview of Georgia Family Connection and expressing Region 8’s collective concern about the proposed FY12 budget transfer of Family Connection funds to the Governor’s Office of Children and Families.

“It is critical that we sustain Georgia Family Connection’s work in the 159 county collaborative organizations that support children and families across the state,” Michael told his representatives. “Moving the funds to the Governor’s Office for Children and Families puts the work we’ve done for 20 years at risk.”

Legislators on hand to hear their concerns were representatives Debbie Buckner, Richard Smith, Mike Cheokas, Bob Hanner, Gerald Greene, and senators Joshua McKoon, Ed Harbison, and Freddie Sims.

One of the most powerful arguments I heard Tuesday came from Dorothy (Dot) Humphrey-Bass, of Talbot County Family Connection, when she said, “Family Connection is fiscal conservatism at its best.”  She went on to explain that collaboratives are able to take the “small” amount of state funding in their communities and make the investment go a “long” way by leveraging more dollars through local partners and support that ultimately help children and families in their communities. 

Mike Chokeas chats with Reg. 8
Rep. Mike Cheokas (right) learns more about Georgia Family Connection’s work on behalf of children and families.

Legislator after legislator thanked the coordinators for making the trip last week, and for the important work they accomplish to help children and families. Every member of their delegation supports them and understands that Family Connection plays a vital role in their counties. They all pledged their support.

Way to go Region 8! Thanks for sharing your energy and passion with me. I’m sure your colleagues across the state are grateful for your work and for representing the Georgia Family Connection network.

Members of the Region 8 Peer-to Peer Network who visited the Capitol:

  • Representing Columbus Family Connection—Michael Johnson, coordinator, and Karen Moore, collaborative chair
  • Representing Talbot County Family Connection—Dorothy Humphrey-Bass, coordinator, and Robert Patrick, collaborative chair
  • Representing Stewart County Family Connection—Lynn Woodruff, coordinator
  • Representing Quitman County Family Connection—Sara Lee Crumbs, coordinator

Here are a couple of your voices I thought would be great to share: