Georgia Family Connection Conference

Georgia Family Connection Collaborative members from all 159 counties—along with partners and peers from Georgia and other states—will gather on Jekyll Island Oct. 3 – 5 to strengthen existing relationships and forge new ones, engage in robust workshops and panel discussions, learn from each other, and re-energize our statewide network.

Finding Solutions

The Georgia Family Connection Conference is designed for collaborators who are determined to finding solutions to the complex issues that challenge children and families in their communities by setting priorities and developing strategies based on their own local data. This diverse group represents urban and rural areas of Georgia, as well as multiple sectors of community life, including social services, education, government, healthcare, and business.

Hands-on breakout sessions and panels will span Family Connection’s core result areas in six tracks:

  1. Healthy Children
  2. Children Primed for School
  3. Children Succeeding in School
  4. Stable, Self-Sufficient Families
  5. Thriving Communities
  6. Data and Evaluation

So, come prepared to learn, work, and connect.

ScheduleWorkshops
SponsorsFAQAccommodationsJekyll Island

Wednesday, October 3

2 – 4:30 p.m.
Registration and Hospitality Open—Jekyll Island Convention Center

3 – 4:30 p.m.
Optional Early-Arrival Technical Assistance Sessions (Pre-Registration Required)—Jekyll Island Convention Center

5 – 7 p.m.
Gathering on the Green Welcome Reception—The Westin Jekyll Island Courtyard


Thursday, October 4

7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Registration and Hospitality Open—Jekyll Island Convention Center

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Breakfast—Jekyll Island Convention Center

8:45 – 10:15 a.m.
Workshops: Session 1—Jekyll Island Convention Center

10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Workshops: Session 2—Jekyll Island Convention Center

12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Plenary Luncheon—Jekyll Island Convention Center

1:45 – 3:15 p.m.
Workshops: Session 3—Jekyll Island Convention Center

5 – 7 p.m.
Networking Reception—Jekyll Island Club


Friday, October 5

7:30 – 10 a.m.
Registration and Hospitality Open—Jekyll Island Convention Center

7:45 – 8:15 a.m.
Coffee and Light Fare—Jekyll Island Convention Center

8:30 – 10 a.m.
Jekyll Island Convention Center
Workshops: Session 4—Jekyll Island Convention Center

10:15 – 11:45 a.m.
Closing Plenary Brunch—Jekyll Island Convention Center

Track One: Healthy Children

Powerful Partnerships: a Recipe for Healthier Communities

Panel
Discover how Georgia Organics and Georgia SHAPE are working with communities across the state to increase access to healthy food and opportunities for healthy behavior. You’ll also hear from communities how the power of partnerships within a Family Connection Collaborative have changed the county landscape by introducing community gardens, cooking classes, walking trails, and other strategies designed to improve community health.

Panelists:

  • Suzanne Girdner, Georgia Organics Community Outreach Manager
  • Esther Mune, Nutrition and Physical Activity Program Manager, Department of Public Health
  • Alicia Varnum, Calhoun County Family Connection Coordinator
  • Shanda Ashley, County Extension Coordinator, University of Georgia Extension

Moderator: Rebekah Hudgins, Georgia Family Connection Evaluation and Georgia KIDS COUNT Team Member; Director, AnthroEval Consulting, LLC

Closing the Gaps in Access to Healthcare—Let’s Get Creative

Panel
How can we achieve health equity? This session provides three approaches to closing the gaps in access to quality healthcare: school-based health centers, telemedicine, and home visits. Presenters will provide an overview of state and federal challenges and resources, and show how several counties are taking innovative approaches to overcome the challenges in their communities.

Panelists:

  • Veda Johnson, MD, Director, PARTNERS for Equity in Child and Adolescent Health, Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
  • Sherry Farr, Lamar County Nurse Manager, Department of Public Health
  • Suleima Salgado, Director of Telehealth and Telemedicine, Department of Public Health
  • Benny Atkins, Chief Operating Officer, Emergency Medical Services

Moderator: Rebekah Hudgins, Georgia Family Connection Evaluation and Georgia KIDS COUNT Team Member; Director, AnthroEval Consulting, LLC

Healthy Moms, Healthy Kids: Best Practices

Panel
Healthy women have a better chance of becoming healthy mothers with healthy children. In this session you’ll take a look at some best and promising practices—with a focus on evidence-based programs, including WIC—to help improve maternal and child health across our state. The panel will highlight some local home visitation and Centering Pregnancy implementation and successes.

Presenters:

  • LaToya Osmani, Deputy Division Director, Division of Health Promotion, Department of Public Health
  • Twanna Nelson, Director of Home Visiting, Department of Public Health
  • Joy Baker, MD, Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Upson Regional Medical Center

Moderator: Rebekah Hudgins, Georgia Family Connection Evaluation and Georgia KIDS COUNT Team Member; Director, AnthroEval Consulting, LLC

The Earliest Years of a Child’s Life—Laying a Solid Foundation

Panel
The strength of our children’s ability to become the best they can be rests on the foundation of the earliest years of their lives. Counties across Georgia are working to create the foothold to support maternal and child health—and to help ensure that children are on the path to reading proficiently by third grade. Presenters representing the Early Childhood Health and Education (EC-HEED) cohort of Family Connection Collaboratives will share evaluation findings at the state and local levels since they began this work in 2013. Local communities also will share how the intersection of their EC-HEED strategy and being a Get Georgia Reading Campaign Community has changed the system of services in their communities to better serve families.

Presenters:

  • Rebekah Hudgins, Georgia Family Connection Evaluation and Georgia KIDS COUNT Team Member; Director, AnthroEval Consulting, LLC
  • Valerie Hutcherson, Georgia Family Connection Evaluation and Georgia KIDS COUNT Team Member; Director, Village Research and Consulting Group, LLC
  • Sherry Evans, Crisp County Family Connection Executive Director
  • Janet Adams, Atlanta Fulton County Family Connection Director

Moderator: Rebekah Hudgins, Georgia Family Connection Evaluation and Georgia KIDS COUNT Team Member; Director, AnthroEval Consulting, LLC

 

Track Two: Children Primed for School

Improving Access to Health and Human Services for Immigrant Children

Panel
Migrant and refugee children and families often face barriers to receiving health, education, and legal services. This panel will share practical information and resources for providing critical services to these children and families to ensure their well-being so they can contribute to their communities.

Panelists:

  • Suzanne Harbin, Director of Early Childhood Initiatives, Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia
  • Belisa M. Urbina, Founder and Executive Director, Ser Familia
  • Christina Iturralde Thomas, Esq., Managing Attorney—Atlanta, Kids in Need of Defense
  • Brenda Arnold, Education Leadership

Moderator: Carolina Antonini, Esq.

Aligning Data to Support Our Youngest Learners

Presenters will demonstrate Get Georgia Reading Campaign’s new data tools, designed to help partners create the conditions for every child in Georgia to be on a path to reading proficiently by the end of third grade. You also will explore Georgia’s new Cross Agency Child Data System, which provides an integrated and aligned approach to demonstrate how the state is meeting its youngest learners’ needs.

Mike Carnathan, Research and Analytics Division Manager, Atlanta Regional Commission; Founding Member, Neighborhood Nexus

Arianne Weldon, Get Georgia Reading Campaign Director

Good Behavior in School—a Lesson for Teachers, Parents, and Students

Panel
This panel will address the importance of positive classroom climate across the age span from birth through 12th grade. Panelist will share information about efforts to implement PBIS in child care centers and public schools in Georgia. The presentation will include an emphasis on work done to align the Pyramid Model with the K-12 model. Session participants will have the opportunity to discuss strategies to support positive classroom climate in their communities.

Panelists:

  • Katie Hagan, Lead Inclusion Specialist, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
  • Brandy Woolridge, Georgia Department of Education , Early Childhood PBIS Program Specialist
  • Kathy Wooten, Southwest Georgia RESA

Moderator: Brandy Lochetta, Inclusion Program Manager, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

The Economics of High-Quality Child Care—Investing in Human Capital

High-quality child care lays the crucial groundwork for tomorrow’s workforce while promoting a strong workforce today. In this session, you’ll hear about the latest research in Georgia that demonstrates the impact of high-quality early learning in promoting school readiness and success in the early grades. You’ll explore a Georgia-specific study that quantifies the economic impact of child care as an industry—providing jobs, contributing to the economy, and supporting parents by raising labor force participation. You’ll also hear ideas from community leaders who have taken the research about  this powerful two-generation investment in human capital to action.

  • Kristin Bernhard, Deputy Commissioner for System Reform, Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
  • Bentley Ponder, Research and Evaluation Director, Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning


Track Three: Children Succeeding in School

Helping Kids Thrive when School’s Out

Panel
When schools close—for the day, over the weekend, or for the summer—countless children in Georgia lose access to healthy meals, safe environments, and books and educational opportunities so they can keep learning outside the classroom. This session will focus on the importance of connecting with partners to support school success strategies that focus on nutrition, exercise, and academics.

Panelists:

  • Becky Anderson, Tattnall County Family Connection Coordinator
  • Wendy Sims, Bryan County Family Connection Director
  • Katie Landes, Georgia Afterschool Network Director
  • Gwuna Lewis, Parent Representative, Tri-County Family Connection

Moderator: Sonya Hope, Georgia Family Connection Partnership, Community Support Team Member

Creative Alternatives to Youth Incarceration

Panel
According to a report by the National Institute of Justice, America’s approach to youth incarceration is costly, ineffective, and can harm young people. That’s why Georgia is looking at creative alternatives to suspension and incarceration. This workshop explores ways community Collaboratives have created systems change initiatives that are helping youth remain in school, reducing juvenile detention, and increasing public safety.

Panelists:

  • Peggy Walker, Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge
  • Kari Poss, Teen Court Director, Columbia County Teen Court
  • Wendy Sims, Bryan County Family Connection Director—Case Management
  • RaNae Fendley, Office of Student Support Services Executive Director, Jasper County Charter System— Attendance Review Panel

Moderator: Teka Downer, Columbia County Collaborative

Reducing Dangerous Youth Trends in Your Community

This workshop will focus on strategies county Collaboratives can implement to reduce drug use and gang involvement by youth. You will learn about illegal narcotics, how to identify drug abuse, and gain an understanding of Georgia’s street gang law. You’ll also find out how to assist family members in getting addicts, as well as youth involved in gang-related activities, into treatment rather than incarceration.

Jesse Hambrick, Sergeant, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in charge of Drug and Gang Prevention and Meth Task Force Supervisor

A First-Class Education’s Impact on Georgia’s Workforce

Without a first-class education system, a community’s workforce can’t be properly trained to attract businesses. This workshop emphasizes the strong link between economic prosperity and the state’s—and local—public education system. You will see specific dollar-and-cents evidence that education is critical to a community’s prosperity.

Merrill Wilcox, Strategic Partnership Coordinator, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

 

Track Four: Stable, Self-Sufficient Families

Keeping Up with the Changing Structure of Georgia’s Families

Panel
Experts from across the state will talk about the changing demographics of families in Georgia. You’ll discuss the changes to family structure and how these new dynamics require modernizing the pattern of support, services, and programs if all families are to become self-sufficient and productive.

Panelists:

  • Virginia Dick, Virginia Dick, Evaluation Consultant, NextStep Evaluation, Inc., GaFCP Evaluation Team Member
  • Dahlia Bell Brown, Chief Innovation Officer, Division of Children and Family Services
  • Amy Lollis, Lanier County Family Connection Executive Director
  • Susan Holcomb, Family Engagement Specialist, Georgia Department of Education

Moderator: Gabrielle Stewart, GaFCP Community Support Specialist

The Impact of Childhood Trauma on Brain Development

In this workshop you’ll gain an understanding of how trauma influences brain development and how to identify symptoms of trauma. You’ll explore examples of treatments, services, and community solutions available to support children affected by trauma.

  • Colette Nicole, Training Specialist, Child Welfare Training Collaborative, Professional Excellence Program, Georgia State University
  • Christine Clark, Counselor, Georgia HOPE
The State of Child Welfare in Georgia

Panel
This panel will examine issues coming up in the Child Fatality Review Panel and what the Division of Family and Children Services is experiencing statewide, as well as how the Northwest Georgia System of Care and Region of Hope/Community of Hope model can support families in need. You will learn about the major issues in Child Fatality and Child Well-being, with a focus on learnings from Communities of Hope in Whitfield County.

Panelists:

  • Peggy Walker, Juvenile Court Judge of Douglas County
  • Dahlia Bell Brown, Chief Innovation Officer, Division of Family and Children Services
  • Carlene Mutter, Dalton/Whitfield County Family Connection Coordinator

Moderator: Gabrielle Stewart, GaFCP Community Support Specialist

Seizing Opportunities to Improve Mental-Health Outcomes for Children

Effectively addressing children’s mental health requires solutions that address underlying factors that influence children’s ability to develop, function, and thrive. Although language deficits significantly impact children’s mental health outcomes, they have yet to be included at the forefront of Georgia’s approach. You will learn the research and the wide range of opportunities for action at the community, state, and policy levels.

Presenters:

  • Garry McGiboney, Deputy Superintendent, External Affairs, Georgia Department of Education
  • Arianne Weldon, Get Georgia Reading Campaign Director

 

Track Five: Thriving Communities

Addressing the Opioid Crisis

Panel
The opioid crisis continues to worsen across the country, with devastating effects on our families and communities. There is evidence that foster-care systems are being flooded with children of addicted parents and parents who died from overdoses. The panelists, who represent organizations leading Georgia’s response to opioid abuse and addiction, will share information about what is being done to prevent, reduce, and manage this crisis at the national, state, regional, and local levels.

Panelists:

  • Jim Langford, Executive Director, Georgia Prevention Project
  • John Bringuel, Project Director, Georgia Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Initiative at The Council on Alcohol and Drugs
  • Sheila Pierce, Opioid Program Coordinator and Director, Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, Georgia Department of Public Health

Moderator: Steve Erickson, Evaluation Team Lead, Georgia Family Connection Partnership

Improving Georgia’s Civic Health and Getting to Know iCivics

Mixed Format—Presenter and Panel
In this workshop, you will learn about key findings from the 2018 Georgia Civic Health Index, including comparisons to the previous Civic Health Index and local data. You’ll also hear about Civics and how you can contact GaFCP’s iCivics trainers. As part of this mixed format, a panel will discuss the process of collecting local civic health data and how to use it to create strategies to improve civic health in your community.

Presenter: Rebecca Rice, Georgia KIDS COUNT Manager, Georgia Family Connection Partnership

Panelists:

  • Katie Moncus, President, Washington County Chamber of Commerce
  • Alyson McAfee, Washington County Family Connection Executive Director

Moderator: Steve Erickson, Evaluation Team Lead, Georgia Family Connection Partnership

Understanding Demographic Shifts in Georgia

Demographics in Georgia are shifting, from population numbers and geographic density, to race and ethnicity. These changes could affect our educational and economic systems, as well as our infrastructure needs. You will learn what we all can do to ensure that Georgia is accounting for these shifts to prepare for the future.

Mike Carnathan, Manager, Research & Analytics Division, Atlanta Regional Commission

Addressing Poverty in Georgia

Mixed Format—Presenter and Panel
It is so difficult to get our collective head around the complex issue of reducing poverty. This workshop will give an overview of the causes of poverty and how to use the poverty framework to develop a collaborative and systematic approach to addressing poverty in your community. You also will hear from three Family Connection Collaboratives that are addressing poverty in their FY19 annual plans in their communities.

Presenter: Toni Brown, Georgia Family Connection Partnership Community Support Specialist

Panelists:

  • Targie Folds, Greene County Family Connection Coordinator
  • Candice Hillman, Augusta Partnership for Children Executive Director
  • Doug Belisle, Bartow County Family Connection Executive Director

Moderator: Toni Brown, Georgia Family Connection Partnership Community Support Specialist

 

Track Six: Data and Evaluation

Data

Making a Difference—Transforming Data into a Meaningful Message

Come learn where Georgia KIDS COUNT data come from, and how the team gathers and builds tools and resources. You’ll also get a tour of each data tool and learn how to use each one to target your message to specific audiences.

  • Rebecca Rice, Georgia KIDS COUNT Manager, Georgia Family Connection Partnership
  • Julie Sharpe, Georgia Family Connection Partnership Evaluation and Georgia KIDS COUNT Team Member; Director, Sharpe Solutions

Evaluation

Logic Modeling—Adding that Wow! Factor to Your Collaborative Strategies

Learn how to build a logic model that will wow your partners and funders. You’ll learn how to weave together activities, resources, and desired outcomes into a logic model that guides the work of collaboration in your communities.

Georgia Family Connection Partnership Evaluation Team Members: Virginia Dick and Ann Price

Building a Culture of Evaluation: Strengthen Collaboration while Measuring Impact

Why is evaluation a critical tool for Collaboratives? Learn the basic principles of evaluation, how to increase accountability, and how to engage Collaborative partners in a process to improve effectiveness and measure impact. You’ll leave armed with tips for building a collaborative culture of evaluation.

Georgia Family Connection Partnership Evaluation Team Members: Julie Sharpe and Valerie Hutcherson

We are grateful to our sponsors for supporting our 2018 conference.
Gold

Kaplan Early Learning Company

Silver

Amerigroup Community Care
Caresource
Scholastic Education

Bronze

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Patron

Junior Achievement

What is the Conference registration fee?

The early-bird discounted rate is $300, standard registration is $350, and late registration is $400.

Are accommodations included in the registration fee?

No. Hotel rooms must be booked separately from registering for the conference.

Is there a deadline for booking a hotel room?

Yes. Rooms may be booked at the Westin Jekyll Island at the conference group rate through 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 11. Rooms may be booked at the Hampton Inn & Suites at Jekyll Island at the conference group rate through 11 p.m. on Sunday, September 2.

Is there a fee to share a hotel room?

Only if there are more than two people. Some attendees choose to share hotel rooms to reduce travel expenses. The Westin charges a $25 fee for each third and fourth guest over age 17 sharing a room.

Do I need to book my hotel room and make my own travel arrangements?

Yes. All participants are responsible for their conference travel and hotel arrangements.

Is there a fee to park at the hotel?

Westin guests must pay a $10 per-room, per-night resort fee, which includes self-parking, wireless internet access in the lobby and guest rooms, and an island-wide shuttle service.

What does my conference registration include?

The full conference registration includes admission to all sessions, workshops, social events, and organized meals.

Can I register for just one day of the conference?

Yes. The rate for registering for any single day of the conference is $250. The early-bird rate does not apply to single-day registration. Single-day registration includes admission to all sessions, events, and meals on that day.

Do I have to pay the conference registration if I just want to attend a particular workshop or event?

Registration is required to attend workshops and events. You have the option to register for one day, but not for individual workshops or events.

Who should attend the conference?

Georgia Family Connection coordinators and board members, local and state partners, and elected officials.

What is the proper attire for the conference?

Casual attire is appropriate for Wednesday evening’s opening reception and during the day Thursday and Friday. Resort casual (dresses or slacks for ladies, and slacks for men) is appropriate for workshops and plenary meals. Wear comfortable shoes and bring layers. Air-conditioning is difficult to regulate in large facilities, and lecture rooms can be overly warm or chilly.

I have registered for the conference and need to make a change or special request. How can I do that?

For questions about the conference, registration, or hotel accommodations, contact Elizabeth Turner at [email protected] or 404-420-7411, or Carlisa Beal at [email protected] or 404-420-7413.

I would like to come early or stay after the conference. Can I get the same rate at the hotel?

The Westin is offering the group rate to conference attendees for three days prior to and after the conference, subject to availability when you make your reservation.

Register for the 2018 Georgia Family Connection Conference today.

For questions about the conference, registration, or hotel accommodations, contact Elizabeth Turner at [email protected] or 404-420-7411, or Carlisa Beal at [email protected] or 404-420-7413.

After you register, be sure to book your hotel  room at the Hampton Inn. The Westin Jekyll Island Hotel is fully booked. Deadline for reserving a hotel room at the Hampton’s conference group rate is Sunday, September 2.

Holiday Inn Resort at Jekyll Island

You’ll find comfort and modern luxury at Holiday Inn Resort, the most centrally located hotel on Jekyll Island. Contemporary hospitality and Jekyll Island relaxation are waiting for you. Relax in your own elegant room featuring stylish décor and amenities, including a refrigerator, high-speed Internet access, executive work area, cable TVs, and the best night’s sleep you’ve had in weeks. Located right on the Atlantic Ocean and just 1.5 miles from the Jekyll Island Convention Center, Holiday Inn Resort is the ideal location for your Jekyll Island getaway.

Deadline for reserving a hotel room at the Holiday Inn Resort‘s conference group rate is Sunday, September 16.

To book a room by phone:
Call the hotel locally at 912-635-2211 and reference Georgia Family Connection.

Directions

Holiday Inn Resort at Jekyll Island
701 North Beachview Drive
Jekyll Island, GA 31527
912-635-2211

Hampton Inn and Suites

Relax at the oceanside Hampton Inn & Suites Jekyll Island hotel. This four-story hotel provides Hampton’s free hot breakfast daily in the dining area, tapas and beverages from the lobby lounge, and a walk-up window from the expansive pool area. Select a spacious room with one king- or two queen-sized beds, high-speed internet access, a flat-screen TV, mini-refrigerator and microwave. Wake to freshly made coffee prepared the way you like it in your guest room coffeemaker. The hotel’s suites have even more room, a balcony, and a separate sitting area with sofa bed.

Deadline for reserving a hotel room at the Hampton’s conference group rate is Sunday, September 2.

To book a room by phone:

  • Call the hotel locally at 912-635-3733 and reference Georgia Family Connection, or
  • Call central reservations at 1-800-426-7866 (1-800-Hampton) and reference Georgia Family Connection.

To book a room online:

  • Go to hampton.com.
  • Enter the dates of your stay, and enter Jekyll Island, GA as your destination.
  • Click Add special rate codes, and type GFC into the Group Code field.
  • Click Find It, select your room choice, and complete your reservation.

Planning to come early?
Make a reservation for Tuesday, Oct. 2, by contacting John, our sales representative, at 912-635-0670.

Directions

The Hampton Inn & Suites
200 South Beachview Drive
Jekyll Island, Georgia 31527
912-635-3733

 

The Westin Jekyll Island Hotel

The Westin Jekyll Island Hotel is located on a beautiful stretch of Georgia’s coastline, offering guests direct beach access and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, and is adjacent to the Jekyll Island Convention Center—our 2018 Georgia Family conference site.

Enjoy premium shopping at Jekyll Island Beach Village, located right next door to The Westin, then explore the island’s breathtaking beaches on foot or by bicycle, and be sure to stop by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. And just a mile down the shoreline you’ll find the popular Driftwood Beach, a local spot known for its beautiful driftwood and gorgeous views.

Jekyll Island is a state park, and largely protected from development. The hotel staff is committed to keeping the island beautiful and all local species protected. All the green initiatives at the hotel support the mission of the Jekyll Island Authority Conservation Program.

Directions

The Westin Jekyll Island Hotel
110 Ocean Way
Jekyll Island, Georgia 31527
912-635-4545


For information on what to eat, where to shop, and what to do while on Jekyll Island, check out jekyllisland.com.