An increasing number of Georgia children are in foster care, but people who have experienced the child welfare system have ideas on how to turn that around.
On April 16, the UGA School of Social Work will hold a panel discussion about collaborative ways to help families and reduce child abuse and neglect. The event, “Real People, Real Stories: Engaging Families,” will feature foster parents, former foster youth and child welfare professionals. It will be held at 3 p.m. in the Chapel and is free and open to the public.
While the majority of Georgia’s 2.5 million children live safe, supported lives, reports of maltreatment are on the rise. According to the U.S. Children’s Bureau, from 2013 to 2017 the number of investigations for child maltreatment in Georgia rose from 46 per thousand to 65.4 per thousand, a 19% increase. Most of the cases—70%—were for neglect. In 2017 in Georgia, 129,870 children received child welfare services.
The panel will include two foster parents, two former foster youth, a staff member from Brightpaths—formerly Prevent Child Abuse Athens—and a staff member from the Department of Family and Children Services. It will be moderated by Rachel Fusco, UGA Athletic Association Professor in Health and Well-Being in the School of Social Work. Panelists will discuss their experiences in the child welfare system, what worked well, what might be done differently and ways that families and service agencies can work in concert. After the discussion, panelists will answer questions from the audience.