First Lady Mary Perdue Announces Second Annual Statewide Summit on Our Children
|Monday, August 9, 2004||
Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774
Our Children Campaign Presents Second Statewide Summit on August 11
ATLANTA , GA-First Lady Mary Perdue announced today the Second Annual Summit on Our Children designed to bring awareness and activism to caring for Georgia's foster children. The First Lady's Our Children Campaign targets corporate and faith communities across the state, encouraging them to address the needs of abused and neglected children within their communities. The Summit will be held Wednesday, August 11, 2004 at Georgia Public Broadcasting studios in Atlanta and simulcast to seven other site locations, including Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Savannah, and Tifton. Each of the regional sites will hold workshops simultaneously.
"I am inspired by the response we have received since the first annual Summit last year," said Mrs. Perdue. "The future of Georgia rests in our ability to provide for our children's needs today. It is my goal to raise awareness about these children and nothing is more important to me than how we provide for, educate, and protect our children."
The Summit is designed to expose people who have never been involved with foster children to the needs in their communities. First Lady Mary Perdue and Governor Sonny Perdue will open the Summit with remarks, drawing from their personal experience as foster parents to eight infants awaiting adoption. Panelists include a cross-section of state and community leaders working directly and indirectly within Georgia's foster care system.
Since the launch of the First Lady's initiative, 29 new Champions for Children have been announced, including 17 corporate Champions and 12 faith community Champions. These Champions have made an obligation to their community or organization to increase volunteerism and involvement with children in state custody. The Our Children Campaign website has received over 22,000 hits and over 300 calls were placed to the toll-free number. A survey conducted of approximately 100 nonprofits concluded that 13% of the respondents had seen an increase in volunteer hours as a direct result of the 2003 Summit.
The corporate Champions for Children are AGL Resources, Alston & Bird, Bank of America, ChoicePoint, Equity Group, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Georgia Natural Gas, Home Depot, IBM, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, Medical Center of Central Georgia, Memorial Health, Pfizer, Primerica, Spectrum Productions, Synovus, and Wachovia. Faith Community Champions include Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, Bartow County Women's Resource Center, Georgia Baptist Women's Missionary Union, Lutheran Services of Georgia, McDonough Presbyterian Church, New Birth Missionary Baptist, Northside Baptist, Tifton, Peachtree City Christian Church, Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, and The Father's House.
In 2003, Georgia received over 90,000 reports of child abuse and of the confirmed cases, 80% of those children were victims of severe neglect. More than 16,000 children are in foster care, and half of those children have been in state custody for more than 16 months. Despite progress, Georgia still ranks 40 out of 50 states in overall child well being.
"This year's Summit on Our Children has a new momentum and invigorated hopes for the future of Georgia's children. There are many more resources out there to help build a brighter future for children in foster care, and this Summit and the Our Children Campaign are reaching out to make that possible" said First Lady Mary Perdue.
The Summit will be hosted by Georgia Public Broadcasting and coordinated regionally by Family Connections.
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.