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State to Terminate Marion County Family Connection Contract

From the Nov. 7, 2018 issue
of The Journal

By Richard Harris
   All 159 counties in Georgia have a local Family Connection Partnership that is funded by the state. On November 15 that number will drop to 158, with Marion County being the only county in the entire state without the service.
   Robyn Crittenden, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS), recently informed local officials that the contract will be terminated "for cause".
   The state supplies $50,000 per year to the local Family Connection, which in turn is expected to coordinate all available resources in the community to achieve goals designed to improve the lives of children, families, and the community, while also coming up with solutions to meet local goals.
   Basically, there are many different government programs and agencies that offer a wide variety of services to communities, and Family Connection is supposed to "bring everyone together" to make sure the community takes advantage of all those resources.

   Ironically, Kevin Brown, the Executive Director of Marion Co. Family Connection, believes the inability of local officials to "come together" is what led to the drastic decision by the state to pull the plug on the local partnership.
   "It's definitely a personal vendetta from a City Council member," said Brown, who declined to comment on the reasons for the personal conflict. He added that the crisis also "stems back to the drama last year with City Council."
   Officially, the state's reason for the decision is that the local Family Connection fell under a corrective action plan after the state made repeated attempts to provide technical assistance and training. It then failed to meet multiple requirements of the plan.
   However, the state's official action plan also gives the following as a reason: "Also, local circumstances within the collaborative as well as ... The rest of the story.