Family Connection and Verizon Helping to Give Struggling Families Access to Mental Health Services

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Georgia Family Connection
Region 12 County Collaboratives

region 12

McIntosh County Family Connection, Inc.
Genevieve Wynegar

Youth Futures Authority
Edward Chisolm

Family Connection Glynn
Tony Kreimborg

Bryan County Family Connection
Wendy Sims

Bulloch County Commission on Human Services, Inc.
Catherine Hendrix

Camden Community Alliance and Resources, Inc.
Celenda Perry

Effingham Family Connection Commission, Inc.
Elaine Spencer

Liberty County Family Connection, Inc.
David Floyd

Long County Family Connection
William Miller

Children and families in the southeast, coastal rural corner of the state victimized by child abuse and neglect, and domestic violence, are struggling to access quality mental health services. But thanks to a $20,000 investment from Verizon Wireless, Georgia Family Connection Collaborative organizations from nine counties will work together to provide a stronger infrastructure, and more support to families in the region.

Collaborative cordinators from nine counties in the southeast coastal region came together in February to begin to gather data and to get their communities involved in helping citizens access quality mental health services. Verizon Wireless took notice soon after and wanted to , and last month invested $20,000 in their work to provide a stronger infrastructure, and more support to families in the region.

“At Verizon Wireless, one of our key priorities is to prevent family domestic abuse, and to support families,” said Zakir Burrow, district manager of Retail Sales in coastal Georgia. “In this area in particular, and some of the rural markets, we really wanted to be able to provide a little more than perhaps some areas get on a normal basis,” said Burrow. “So for that reason we chose to support this network, because we know that mental health is critical to supporting families, and to maintain happy families.”

The main objectives for the Collaboratives will be to find out how to reduce the percentage of people in need who who not receiving services, identify the obstacles to accessing quality mental health services, and find out how to leverage investments and partnerships for greater community impact.

“We hope to increase access so we’ll have mental health providers available in every county in our region—and to improve the quality of those services,” said Wendy Sims, Bryan County Family Connection coordinator. “We’re gathering the data to figure out what the next step is, and to develop a plan. Thanks to this Verizon grant, we’re able to do that.”

The Family Connection Collaboratives want to make sure investors, stakeholders, policymakers, and providers are aware of the families’ struggles and services available, so that people in need will be able to access quality mental health services, so that through better collaboration on this community need communities can all improve the way they work together for families and children, and so that service providers and partners can use data collected and possible solutions to improve service delivery and leverage dollars if necessary.

The Collaboratives in the region will present their assessment results and best practices for solutions at a regional prevention summit in April, and share learnings with local Community Service Boards and Mental Health Planning Boards during the spring and summer.

“Regional initiatives like this one demonstrate how critical it is to the children, families, and communities we serve,” said Georgia Family Connection Partnership Executive Director Gaye Smith, “that we build and maintain strong peer relationships across regions and the network as a whole so that those can be leveraged into opportunities to have a greater impact on a larger number of people.”

Region 12 and big Verizon check


Bill Valladares
GaFCP Communications Director
404-527-7394 (x113)

Follow us on Twitter @gafcpnews.