Join our Community Collaborative
Please join us as we work together sharing information and services to help build
a strong, vibrant, healthy community.
COVID has made times so uncertain. The safety of our members is our first priority; therefore, we will let you know closer to April 13th as to whether this meeting will be virtual only or virtual and face to face.
If you can't make it, we are happy to make announcements for you.
Contact Rebecca Bliss at if you need more information.
Guest Speaker: Faith Atkins, Untapped Potential

~Dawson County Family Connection News~
Letter From Our New Coordinator:

Hello All,

Many of you already know me, but for those of you who do not, my name is Rebecca Bliss.  I am wife to Brian Bliss (19 years!) and mother to four beautiful, intelligent, witty, children who will all be teenagers in September (please say a little prayer for me!). My family moved to Dawson County from Gwinnett in 2006 and we have been smitten with this close-knit community ever since. My background is in accounting. I worked for NAPA Genuine Parts Company and HR Block (yes, I am one of those strange birds that ENJOYS doing taxes!). When my oldest was born, I chose to become a stay-at-home mom and wouldn't trade that experience for anything in the world. Five years ago, I accepted an administrative position with Dawson County Family Connection and fell in love with the work that this agency does.

I was lucky enough to mentor under Nancy Stites, who was coordinator for Dawson County Family Connection for 15 years! My hope is that upon my retirement, I will have served this community in the same heartfelt and caring manner as she has. 

I am currently writing Dawson County Family Connection's annual plan for FY22 which will begin in July of this year. We will continue to provide resources and support to the community to accomplish our two main missions which are currently child abuse/neglect prevention and mental health awareness.

Dawson County's incidence of child abuse/neglect rank higher than those of Georgia overall and we will continue our focus on bringing awareness to the community of how to recognize incidences of child abuse and how to report. One program that we will continue to offer is Stewards of Children Training, which I hope every adult in Dawson County takes in order to stand up for our children suffering from sexual abuse. It is our hope to encourage families who can, to become Foster Families and provide extra community support for those already providing a stable home for children in our foster care system. We will continue providing support and resources to children being raised in homes by people other than their biological parents known as Kinship Care Families. Every child deserves to feel safe and in partnership with fellow agencies, child abuse/neglect prevention will continue to be a priority for Dawson County Family Connection.

If 2020 taught us nothing else, it is the importance of being mentally strong! The world can be a stressing, depressing, and anxiety causing place at times. It is our hope to bring awareness to this community of how important it is to take care of YOU! Resources are abundant and most of the time just a phone call away; ready for the asking! It is Dawson County Family Connection's goal to connect (either virtually or in person) those who need: help to build resilience, positive methods of conquering depression and anxiety, resources to fight substance abuse, and resources for counseling (especially those in need of Suicide Prevention services), with those willing to offer a lending hand in the form of guidance or support.  

I am very passionate about Dawson County Family Connection's vision that "all Children in Dawson County will have the opportunity to become successful, contributing, productive and self-sustaining adults" and excited about the work that we will be doing in the coming year.  I hope that passion and excitement is catching!

Thank you for all you do,
Rebecca Bliss

Please feel free to contact me at 706-265-1981 or via email at

Dawson County Family Connection- Be The Key's March bulletin board is up at Dawson County Junior High School. Has your teen seen the new bulletin board? The "Donut Stress" bulletin board provides students with tips on how to get through tests and manage stress. #BeTheKey

~Collaborative Bulletin Board~
-Statewide listing of March Baby events
-Is accepting applications for income eligible 3 & 4 year olds for the current school year. Will be accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year on March 1st. Please contact Rita Pruett at 706-265-2980.
-Information needed for clients who are wanting to apply for or check the status of their benefits
-March Calendar
-Completely VIRTUAL clubhouse opportunity for children 11-17
-Employment Opportunities: Family Success Manager (PT) (FT), Clinical Therapist (PT)
-Employment Opportunity: Development Director
-Employment Opportunity: Outreach Coordinator (PT)
-Open enrollment information/timeline

Click on agency for more information
~Highlighted Agency~
Dawson County Family Treatment Court

The Dawson County Family Treatment Court provides timely comprehensive services to substance abusing parents who have lost or are at risk of losing custody of their children or whose substance abuse has had a direct, negative impact on their children. Parents participate in intensive long-term treatment coupled with accountability through frequent court appearances and observed random drug screenings in order to ensure that their children will achieve timely permanency. This program breaks the cycle of addiction, allows children to live safely in their home, reduces recidivism, empowers parents to successfully address other issues affecting child well-being, and builds a foundation for a sober and healthy family environment.
Program Eligibility:
  • Ongoing cases with reported substance abuse/use issues (must meet dependency criteria)
  • Children either in foster care or at home
  • Biological primary care giving parents age 18 years or over
  • Adult caregivers living in the home
  • Dawson County resident
  • Must not be using any addictive/prohibited prescription medications
  • New and existing DFCS court cases; ongoing CPS cases
  • Consideration for entry will be given to persons on felony or misdemeanor probation in Dawson County if the offender has minor children and evidence of substance abuse is present even if no DFCS involvement is present. The request for consideration for entry into FTC may come from Probation, the District Attorney's Office, the Public Defender's Office, or from the sentencing judge. The FTC team has final decision making in the acceptance of these cases.

Disqualifying Elements:
  • Private deprivation cases
  • Past felony grade conviction of physical or sexual violence towards a minor
  • Conviction for trafficking, manufacturing, or selling (intent to distribute/selling will be looked at case by case)
  • Significant or severe and persistent mental illness or mental retardation that would prevent their success in FTC

Clinical Eligibility - The parent must have:
  • The ability to participate actively in the substance abuse treatment program as directed by the substance abuse treatment provider and the court
  • No significant mental health disorders that would substantially limit, in the professional opinion of the treatment provider, the parent's ability to participate actively in treatment even with reasonable accommodations
  • No significant mental disabilities that would substantially limit, in the professional opinion of the treatment provider, the parent's ability to participate actively in treatment even with reasonable accommodations
  • No chronic or terminal medical conditions requiring extensive medical treatment that would substantially limit, in the professional opinion of the parent's healthcare provider, the parent's ability to participate actively in treatment even with reasonable accommodations
  • No violent behavior, as determined by the treatment provider, which may put the parent or the Family Treatment Court participants at risk of injury because of the parent's participation in the program

The screening process for Family Treatment Court participation may begin in a deprivation court hearing: 72-hour hearing, adjudication, disposition, or review. It may also begin as early as a DFCS investigation substantiates substance use. The DFCS case manager may make the referral once use is confirmed in order to streamline the process.

At any point in a traditional deprivation hearing, the judge, parent, Family Treatment Court parent attorney, child attorney, CASA, SAAG, or DFCS case manager may ask that a case be considered for transfer to the Family Treatment Court. If the judge initiates or approves the request for transfer to the Family Treatment Court, the parent will be referred to the Family Treatment Court Coordinator who will detail the program to the parent, have them sign necessary waivers and releases, and arrange a drug and alcohol assessment.

Four prerequisites must be met before a parent can be accepted into the Family Treatment Court program:
  1. DFCS or the Court must identify the parent as meeting the "program" eligibility requirements (goal: identification within 24-48 hours of parent coming to the attention of DFCS or the court)
  2. The parent must volunteer, after consultation with the Family Treatment Court Coordinator and parent attorney, to participate in the program if accepted (goal: consultation and paperwork completed within 48-72 hours)
  3. The substance abuse assessment must find that the parent meets the "clinical" eligibility requirements (goal: clinical assessment completed within 1-2 weeks)
  4. The parent's application for admission is accepted by the Family Treatment Court team (goal: applications will be considered bi-weekly at the staffing meeting)

Because potential Family Treatment Court cases can come to the program by a variety of routes, it is impossible to require that these prerequisites be met in any particular order. The final confirmation that a parent has met all the four prerequisites, however, will be made by the Family Treatment Court.

For more information contact:
Megan Hill
It costs an average of $685 a day to operate the NOA shelter, that's $250,000 a year!
In 2020, NOA offered emergency shelter and support services such as counseling and financial assistance to over 1,159 victims of domestic violence residing in Dawson and Lumpkin Counties.
Advocates responded to 3,400 crisis calls.
All services are FREE and CONFIDENTIAL to victims in need.
Sustainability ensures that those in need will receive a warm meal, a friendly face and a safe place to rest their head.
We need your help to sustain shelter services.  Will You Agree to be a Monthly Sponsor ?

Choose the amount that works for your budget!
  • $10.00/month - pays for dinner for a mom and child
  • $25/month - covers the cost of a trauma assessment for a child
  • $50/month - covers the cost of gas for a mom to get to work for the week
  • $100/month - covers the cost of a support group

A Night of Comedy, Magic, and Madness.
COVID got you down and quarantined? Need a good laugh? Join us for this virtual evening of Comedy, Magic, and Madness with illusionist Denny Corby.
Sponsored by Snaptech IT, this event promises to be a good time for the WHOLE family. No need for masks or social distancing. Enjoy this great show in the comfort of your home! Show time is
Wednesday, March 24th, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm.
Plus - 100% of your ticket purchase benefits The Place of Forsyth County and its year round programs and services. Have a good time and help our county's oldest nonprofit continue to serve those in need. 

In addition, Marie's Italian Deli is partnering with The Place to provide meals for this great event. A percentage of your meal purchase will benefit The Place.
For more information and to order your PICKUP meal, go to: Order Marie's Meals
~Other News~
**The Georgia COVID-19 Emotional Support Line provides free and confidential assistance to callers needing emotional support or resource information as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emotional Support Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals and others who have received training in crisis counseling. Hours of operation: 8 am - 11 pm. Call or text 866.399.8938.


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Call us at 706-265-1981