First Lady Mary Perdue Announces Success of Champion Our Children Month
|Friday, September 29, 2006||
Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774
Tours Child Protection Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite as Final Stop
ATLANTA— Today First Lady Mary Perdue wrapped-up her 15 city tour for Champion Our Children Month. As her final stop, Mrs. Perdue toured the Child Protection Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. The Child Protection Center, a full member of Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia and the National Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, provides specialized services to suspected victims of child abuse in metro Atlanta and across Georgia.
"Over the past month I have seen numerous facilities, like the Child Protection Center, that are making a significant impact in the lives of Georgia’s children," said First Lady Mary Perdue. "My greatest hope is that the focus and support that these abused and neglect children have received will not end this month, but will become a substantial part of the lives of Georgians."
During Champion Our Children month, the First Lady encouraged Georgians to identify needs in their community and volunteer their time and resources to abused and neglected children. Mrs. Perdue lead nearly 4,000 Georgians in activities such as stuffing overnight bags for foster children, planting a garden patio at a child advocacy center, hosting child advocate appreciation events and coordinating clothing and book drives for group foster homes.
"Since the beginning of the Our Children Campaign, I have tried to make Georgians aware of the needs within their own communities," said First Lady Mary Perdue. "This year, we have made even greater strides by showing Georgians where and how to make a difference within their individual communities."
The cities included as part of the Champion Our Children Month tour were Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Cumming, Dalton, Dublin, Marietta, McDonough, Savannah, Rome, Toccoa, Warner Robins and Waycross.
The First Lady’s Our Children Campaign, launched in 2003, recognizes outstanding organizations as "Champions for Children." Since the launch of this initiative, 74 new Champions for Children have been announced, including 25 Georgia corporations, 31 faith–based organizations and 18 civic groups. Each of these groups represents new or increased involvement with foster children in their community.
The goal of the Our Children Campaign is to increase the level of volunteerism and in-kind and financial contributions to Georgia’s child serving organizations. Currently, there are over 16,000 children in foster care in Georgia. Eighty percent of the children who come into the system are victims of neglect.
However, since March 2004, there have been 40 percent fewer child abuse and neglect cases substantiated, meaning a significant drop in the caseload for child protective services. Also during this time, more than 27,000 families from DFCS child protective services have been redirected into other community services to help stabilize and rebuild those families. Due to the Governor’s budget inclusion of 500 new DFCS caseworkers, the average caseload per case manager has decreased in the last year from 26 to 17 cases per worker.
To find out more information or to learn how you can support the foster children in your community, visit www.gov.state.ga.us and follow the link to the First Lady’s Our Children Campaign or call 1-866-786-6661.