What We Do at Georgia Family Connection

We bring together more than 3,000 local- and state-level partners in all 159 counties in Georgia working toward measurably better outcomes for our children, families, and communities. Georgia Family Connection is the only statewide network of its kind in the country.

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

At the local level

We connect our partners to the resources they need, we help coordinate and manage efforts, and we empower our communities to craft local solutions based on local decisions.

Bringing everyone together has helped us to better understand and address the most pressing concerns of communities and partners. This disciplined approach to collaboration allows us to extend much-needed locally based support and to make effective use of existing resources and services.

We also connect creative solutions to expand, improve, and cultivate new efforts that work to eliminate service gaps. So, at our core, we advocate for system changes that eliminate the barriers and inefficiencies standing in the way of progress and positive outcomes.

A strong social infrastructure coupled with evaluating our progress is the best way to enable measurably better outcomes. Collaboration and collective effort yield collective impact. Any issue we’ve addressed, every action we’ve supported, all the success we’ve helped to achieve have been a shared effort.

 

At the state level

Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) represents and promotes the work of Georgia Family Connection.

We support the Georgia Family Connection statewide network by providing expertise in planning and governance, and by administering the state-appropriated funds for the local Collaboratives. We also set standards of excellence and help Collaboratives evaluate their progress in addressing the challenges in their communities by bringing together:

  • representatives and leaders from state agencies;
  • civic groups, local businesses, and faith communities;
  • elected officials; and
  • concerned citizens.

The state’s designated KIDS COUNT grantee, GaFCP also provides state agencies and policymakers at all levels with current, reliable data they need to inform decisions about improving outcomes for the children, families, and communities they serve. Our value at GaFCP is in synthesizing and interpreting data into customized information and tools specific to our Collaboratives’ and partners’ needs.

Our Vision

We envision a Georgia where all children are healthy, primed for school, and succeed when they get there; where families are stable, self-sufficient, and productive; and where communities are vibrant, robust, and thriving.

 

Our Purpose

Georgia Family Connection connects and convenes key community members committed to improving the well-being of children and families. We connect our partners to the resources they need, coordinate and manage efforts, and empower our communities to craft local solutions based on local decisions.

 

Our Core Values

We believe in the power of connection—convening, collaborating, being inclusive, and bringing the right people with the right resources to the table for a common goal.

We believe all people have the ability to become productive citizens—helping people reach their potential by empowering the children and families of our communities, and the partners and stakeholders who support them.

We believe in accountability—making things measurably better by forging relationships in trust, by learning from our successes and our missteps, and by being loyal stewards of our resources.

We believe that lasting change is local—lending support, knowledge, and partnerships to craft local solutions to local challenges.

We believe that by working together we can nurture children and families who thrive in vibrant communities—everywhere.

What We Provide

Since 1991, Georgia Family Connection has been grappling with thorny and complex issues, making sense of it all, and getting results. By listening, learning, and acting, we’ve gained wisdom along the way—wisdom we happily share through stories, resources, technical assistance and training, research and evaluation, and our statewide network.

As a learning-based organization we:

  • provide customized technical assistance and training;
  • promote what works throughout the state;
  • maintain a system of accountability—making things measurably better by forging relationships in trust, learning from our successes and our missteps, and being loyal stewards of our resources; and
  • develop standards that can be replicated nationwide.

Our Strategy

We constantly question everything we believe and do to ensure that we’re innovative while remaining true to our mission the state charged us with.

The GaFCP Outcome Map we developed, with input from our local, state, and national partners, is a strategy that clearly connects our work at the state level to our desired outcomes of improved conditions for Georgia’s children and families.

We follow this roadmap as we continue to foster collaboration at the local and state levels to ultimately bring into focus our vision for all Georgia’s kids to be healthy, primed for school, and to do well when they get there; for families to be stable, self-sufficient, and productive; and for every vibrant, robust community in the state to thrive—something we’ve always intuitively known and now are proving.

View the GaFCP Outcome Map.

Our Story

Back in the early 1990s, conditions for children and families in Georgia were among the worst in the nation. When the Annie E. Casey Foundation released its inaugural national KIDS COUNT report in 1990 to track the status of children in the United States, Georgia placed 48th out of 50 states.

The private and public sectors were busy working to improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, but they weren’t working together.

Gov. Zell Miller responded to the dismal ranking by establishing a two-year pilot initiative in 1991 designed to coordinate services for the educational, social, economic, and physical well-being of Georgia’s youngest, most vulnerable citizens.

He called the initiative Georgia Family Connection.

The governor called for the departments of Education, Human Resources and Medical Assistance to work together to develop a community-based collaborative approach to increase school success, and reduce teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency in Georgia.

A steering committee that included representatives from state agencies and the Georgia Academy for Children and Youth Professionals (Georgia Academy) coordinated the initiative at the state level.

Fifteen communities volunteered to participate in the pilot, with private funding from the Joseph B. Whitehead and Kirbo foundations.

The state legislature appropriated funds in 1993 to establish a state-level technical assistance system to support the original counties, and set additional funds aside each year after to support the waves of new counties connecting to the network.

 

Georgia Family Connection Partnership

Georgia Academy served as the first fiscal agent for the technical assistance system that provided support to the Family Connection initiative. But after 10 years of steady growth, public and private leaders realized the statewide network required formalized oversight.

That same year state government, philanthropy, and community-based organizations developed and launched a new organization by merging Georgia Academy and the Family Connection technical assistance system—Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP).

By 2004 all 159 counties in the state had voluntarily become part of the Georgia Family Connection collaborative network with an expanded focus on overall child and family well-being.

GaFCP’s unique position as a public-private partnership enabled us to serve as a conduit for government, the private sector and communities by connecting their efforts to better support children and families.

The knowledge and expertise we’ve developed during the past 20 years working in communities with Georgia Family Connection has gained recognition and nods from national organizations like the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Brookings Institute’s Innovation in Community Indicators Award, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Gov. Sonny Perdue allocated funding to the final five collaborative organizations in 2002, ensuring that all 159 counties were part of the statewide Georgia Family Connection network—the only statewide network of its kind in the nation.

In 2003 the Annie E. Casey Foundation named GaFCP the KIDS COUNT grantee, which further enhanced our ability to lead discussions among state and local leaders about the challenges Georgia faces, and poised us to offer positive solutions.

Georgia Family Connection and our work would not exist without the bipartisan support of Georgia’s executive and legislative leadership. Their continued investment in our work demonstrates that healthy children who are ready for school, succeed in school, and thrive in stable, self-sufficient families is a priority for all Georgians.

 

Milestones

1991 – Gov. Zell Miller establishes a two-year pilot initiative designed to coordinate services for the educational, social, economic, and physical well-being of children in response to Georgia ranking 50th in inaugural national KIDS COUNT report. Fifteen communities volunteer to participate in the two-year pilot initiative.

1993  State legislature appropriates funds to establish a state-level technical assistance system to support the original county collaborative organizations.

1995 – Georgia Family Connection adopts the state’s framework for measuring community and state progress in five areas:

  1.     healthy children
  2.     children ready to start school
  3.     children succeeding in school
  4.     stable, self-sufficient families
  5.     strong communities

1996–2001 – Georgia Family Connection helps Georgia improve eight out of 10 measures of child well-being.

2001 – State government, philanthropy, and community-based organizations launch Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP).

2002 – Gov. Sonny Perdue allocates funding to final five collaborative organizations, ensuring that all 159 counties are part of the statewide Georgia Family Connection network, making it the only statewide network of its kind in the nation.

2003 – The Annie E. Casey Foundation names GaFCP the KIDS COUNT grantee.

2008 – The Brookings Institution presents GaFCP with an international Innovation Award sponsored through the Community Indicators Consortium for programs that effectively use information to drive change in their communities.

2011 – Georgia Family Connection Partnership ventures out on a statewide listening tour. Representatives from GaFCP visited Collaboratives in all 159 counties to tap into their wisdom and local perspective before restructuring our technical assistance, resources, and identity.

2016 – Georgia Family Connection celebrates 25 years connecting and convening key community members committed to improving the well-being of children and families. Georgia Family Connection rebrands to strengthen the network’s messaging and visual identity as we embark on our second quarter century empowering our communities to craft local solutions based on local decisions.