“We know there are many factors of child well-being that contribute to a child’s ability to read, and that students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are less likely to graduate from high school than their peers. The Get Georgia Reading Campaign’s whole child focus on this indicator of future success is critical to truly putting all children in Georgia on the lifelong path to success. By highlighting the importance of systemic change across all areas of child well-being from health to housing, and unified action toward a common goal, the children of our state are getting the bold support they deserve.”
Dr. Erica Fener Sitkoff, Executive Director
Voices for Georgia’s Children aims to look at the needs of the whole child and to support children in all aspects of their development. Their work is strongly aligned with the Campaign’s four-pillar framework that recognizes the developmental needs of children as well as the need to keep them safe, offer support, and help them navigate complex environments or barriers that may arise in their learning experiences.
Voices believes all children have the ability to succeed if they have access to healthy development, quality education, a positive learning climate, and support for social, emotional, or learning challenges. The four-pillar framework highlights the need for an integrated system and reinforcing objectives that start with children and meet them where they are.
Voices promotes Language Nutrition through support of policies that foster broad access to early childhood education and development, which is one of the important ways they can promote early brain development. They are part of the Department of Public Health’s Braintrust for Babies Advisory Council that’s dedicated to ensuring all children in Georgia enter school ready to succeed.
Voices has taken an active role in policy discussions regarding school discipline and advocated for funding to support widespread use of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in Georgia schools as a strategy for ensuring all children benefit from positive learning climates.
They have sought to support the work of the Division of Family and Children Services in its Blueprint for Change process, which aims to provide stronger family and community supports to children who are vulnerable and more likely to experience trauma that can reduce learning potential.
Voices also plays an active role in promoting quality out-of-school-time programming through a partnership that increases access to an important source of supplementary education and helps prevent summer learning loss among vulnerable populations.
Voices is a statewide policy and advocacy organization that provides information on evidenced-based approaches and analysis to state policymakers. They also seek to influence federal policies in areas such as child nutrition and education that significantly impact the resources available for Georgia’s learners.
One of Voices’ signature events is Pre-K Week, an annual opportunity to engage state business and policy leaders in observing Georgia’s pre-K programs in action and to learn firsthand about the benefits of early education. They also help to disseminate new statewide quality standards for out-of-school-time programs that reduce summer learning loss and behavioral challenges.
Voices has helped engage stakeholders in child welfare reform efforts and started to convene stakeholders from across the state in discussing potential strategies for increasing the use of school-based health services as a means of increasing access to health care and improving education quality for children in underserved areas. School-based health centers have demonstrated a strong positive impact on school attendance, which is a fundamental building block of access to education.
To learn more about Voices, visit their website.