Georgia’s First Lady, Sandra Deal, announced the launch of Great Start Georgia from the Capitol on January 7, 2013. State Leaders, communities, and families joined Mrs. Deal as she expressed Georgia’s commitment to making sure all expectant parents, new parents, and children get a great start!
Administered by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families, Great Start Georgia is an overall effort to ensure that Georgia’s families and communities are able to meet the needs of expectant parents and children birth to age five and their families. In partnership with the Department of Public Health, the system is designed to create a community culture of care, encouragement, and support for all families before and after the birth of a child. A toll-free Information & Referral Center offers connections to relevant local resources and information.
A major service strategy in the Great Start Georgia system is evidence-based home visiting services for families needing support in providing safe, nurturing, and healthy environments for their children. The long-term goal is statewide implementation. Currently, seven counties have received federal funding from the Governor’s Office for Children and Families to embed evidence-based home visiting in their local Great Start Georgia systems, affording Georgia the opportunity to create a statewide home visiting infrastructure and better coordinate community-based services and supports focused on promoting optimal early childhood health and development.
The Governor’s Office for Children and Families works with communities throughout the state to meet the Governor’s goals of ensuring that our children and families are educated, healthy, safe and growing. Great Start Georgia (GSG) is the first step in this process. By providing communities a framework for creating a coordinated system for reaching out to all new and expectant families, and offering needed supports and services, GSG has the potential to significantly improve the well-being of Georgia’s children and families. We now know how important these early years are. We know that the experiences a child has prior to entering kindergarten affect how the brain develops and lay the foundation for success in school and life. The early years really do last a lifetime.
For more information about Great Start Georgia, visit www.greatstartgeorgia.org or call the Information & Referral Center at 1-855-707-8277.