February 8, 2019 | Atlanta, Georgia
Children’s Health and Safety Legislative Staff Workshop
On Friday, February 8, 2019, legislative staff from Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia attended a policy workshop organized by the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC). Staff whose committee purviews include health and human services, public safety and criminal justice received briefings and participated in roundtable discussions about issues important to children’s safety and well-being, including foster care, sexual exploitation, school climate and behavioral health.
Staff heard from medical professionals and public health officials about the impact of the ongoing opioid epidemic on states’ foster care systems, followed by a comprehensive overview of the Family First Prevention Services Act, signed into law in February 2018 to improve child welfare outcomes across the nation. Staff also had an opportunity to hear from three Georgia-based experts about the state’s approach to addressing sexual abuse and exploitation of children, promoting safe and healthy school climates, and providing robust behavioral health services for all students.
Presenters included representatives from the Georgia Department of Education; National Alliance on Mental Illness; Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on reducing the need for foster care; and Georgia Cares, a statewide coordinating agency connecting services and treatment for child victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking.