Since 2013, I’ve had the honor of working to develop the Campaign and promote its pillars. As we begin to engage a critical mass of citizens across the state to bring this work to fruition, I’m excited to see the positive impacts both on individual children and our state as a whole. I’m confident the time and effort expended by the committed partners will be richly rewarded.”

Bobby Cagle, Director, Division of Family and Children Services

Get Georgia Reading’s pillars are especially important to the mission of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), which aims to assure safer children and stronger families for a stronger Georgia. Children from families who are experiencing trauma and upheaval are particularly at risk of not reading on grade level. In low-income families, a lack of a language-rich environment in the home predisposes children to reading difficulties.

“Access to a whole range of health and mental health services, food and shelter, and the best early childhood education is simply financially out of reach for most,” explains Cagle. “Many of the parents we work with have not had a good experience with the educational system, making a positive learning environment even more important.”

As the legal parent of 13,000 children, DFCS is responsible for assuring access to an array of services to promote physical and social-emotional well-being, as well as an opportunity to promote brain development through high-quality early childhood education. They work closely with Bright from the Start: Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) to assure foster children are enrolled in Early Head Start, Head Start, or another high-quality preschool program.

DFCS also works with schools and teachers to sensitize them to the experiences and needs of foster children. Because these foster children are often behind in school, DFCS provides individualized educational assessments for the children, communicates with teachers, and provides targeted tutoring. DFCS also helps provide Language Nutrition training to foster parents who serve children in Georgia.

In an effort to promote the Campaign’s four-pillar framework across the state, DFCS is working to implement the Blueprint for Change, a set of system reforms designed to improve the services provided to all families and children. The agency is systematically communicating the tenets of these reforms through in-person engagement each month in individual regions of the state.

To learn more about DFCS, visit their website.