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State may reestablish
Family Connection in Marion Co.

From the Oct. 30, 2019 issue of The Journal
By Richard Harris
   It's been almost a year since the Georgia Department of Human Services terminated Marion County Family Connection. That decision rocked the local community and left Marion County as the only one of the state's 159 counties without the program.
   Now, The Journal has confirmed with state officials that efforts are under way to reestablish the local program, which comes with approximately $50,000 in state funding.
   Marion County Family Connection was terminated in November 2018 after the local organization failed to meet the requirements of a corrective action plan. 

   Georgia's current Interim Secretary of State, Robyn Crittenden, who was the Commissioner of the Ga. Dept. of Human Services at the time, said the corrective action plan was put into place after the state had made repeated attempts to provide technical assistance and training.
   Marion County Family Connection failed to meet five parts of the corrective action plan, which led to the decision to terminate it.
   It should be noted that Kevin Brown, who was the local Family Connection executive director, told The Journal he believed it all basically stemmed from a "personal vendetta from a City Council member", who he said made misleading complaints to state officials. Brown also offered explanations for each of the five failures of the correction action plan items.
   A more detailed description of the program being terminated, as well as Brown's reaction and explanations, was published in the Nov. 7, 2018 newspaper. That article is still available online for anyone who would like to revisit it.
   However, moving forward, the state hopes to reestablish the program in Marion County. Below is the information we recently received from Gaye Smith, Director of Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP).
   "We are working to restructure the Marion County Family Connection Collaborative so that we can continue to expose the barriers and inefficiencies standing in the way of positive outcomes facing children and families in the county," said Director Smith. "Our process for rebuilding the Collaborative in the coming months is to engage key community stakeholders and ... The rest of the story.