February 2023

Policy Priorities

Georgia Appleseed is under the Gold Dome for this year's legislative session. We're fighting for better housing conditions for low-income families, behavioral health services for kids, and improvements to Georgia’s school discipline laws. 

Be ready to call your elected representatives and tell them to pass bipartisan Senate Bill 169! Georgia Appleseed helped draft the bill to ensure that schools protect children's rights in school discipline proceedings. The bill requires timely disciplinary hearings and that schools provide learning materials to kids while they await their hearing. Our bipartisan sponsors and champions passed the bill unanimously out of the Senate Education and Youth Committee. SB 169 must now pass out of the entire Senate before going to the House.

Under current law, many parents and children must wait weeks before their side of the story can be heard. While out of school, they have no access to schoolwork and fall behind. Already over-worked teachers must reintegrate these students into their classrooms upon return. With SB169, timely hearings and appropriate learning materials will ensure students continue their education even when not physically present in school.

Legal & Policy Director, Caren Cloud, shown with the bill's lead sponsor, Senator Chuck Payne, testified before the Senate Committee on Education and Youth last week on the importance and potential impact of SB169. The bill passed unanimously out of committee and now heads to the Senate Rules Committee, hoping for a vote by crossover day.

Learn more with our one-page summary. Contact your Senators today to share your support for SB169.

Trauma-Informed Care in Troup County

"The way we treat children sets the standard

for the way they treat others and themselves." - L. R. Knost

Georgia's Juvenile Courts see tens of thousands of children each year (over 60,000 cases in 2019), with many experiencing acute traumas like abuse and neglect. Courthouses and court procedures create new stress and fear for these children and their families that can hinder reunification and rehabilitation.

Georgia Appleseed works to help courts and schools better support children--and to learn from each other. In January, Georgia Appleseed brought education leaders and our Georgia Education Climate Coalition on a tour of Troup County Juvenile Court. Over the past 40 years, Judge Michael Key has implemented innovative practices to make the court trauma-informed and minimize stress and fear for those who walk through its doors. Courthouse staff interact with families respectfully to avoid triggering past trauma. Specially trained court ambassadors greet families and offer healthy snacks and other supports. They read to children in waiting areas full of toys and books and painted with colorful murals. The court’s positive, affirming culture helps children cope with stress and encourages family members to seek the best outcomes for their children. 

Judge Michael Key shows off Troup County juvenile court innovations that aim to welcome children and their families.

Roaring for Justice: Celebrating Good Apples

Save the Date! April 20 is our signature fundraising event, Roaring for Justice. Held for the second year at Zoo Atlanta, the evening will overlook the elephant savanna and will feature live musical entertainment from Unknown Lyric, hors d'oeuvres, and cocktails. Come immerse yourself in showcased art representing the lived experience of Georgia’s youth navigating the foster care system. We will also toast this year's "Good Apple" awardees and their impact on advancing justice for Georgia's children.

We are thrilled to announce this year's Good Apple Awardees:

  • Individual: Willoughby Mariano with the Atlanta Journal Constitution for her work on the Dangerous Dwellings Series
  • Community Partner: Steve Gottlieb and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society for their dedicated advocacy and service to Georgia's families. 
  • Corporate: Verizon, for their investment and commitment supporting healthy housing across the state.  

Tickets go on sale in March. Currently, sponsorship opportunities are available at various levels. Get in early to maximize the benefits of your sponsorship, while ensuring Georgia Appleseed has the necessary support to continue expanding our impact for Georgia's children and families. Visit for more information.

Events and Resources

Upcoming Events

March 7, 2023 - CLE Training: Education Advocacy for Students in Foster Care

Need CLE hours before the March 31st deadline?

Register now for Education Advocacy for Students in Foster Care: School Tribunal training, Tuesday, March 7, from 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM. This is offered through Atlanta Bar Assocation's Pro Bono Frenzy.

Georgia Appleseed will present a CLE on advocating in disciplinary hearings for students facing long-term removal from school. Attendees will learn best practices for representing children in foster care in these education matters, and how to provide additional support for students with disabilities.



988 – Mental Health Hotline

An individual in crisis can dial 988 nationwide to reach a trained mental health counselor.


Call 211 or search the website to find food, help with housing bills, access childcare, and more. /

Check out this resource list for information on health, unemployment, emergency food help, and more. provides the same information in Spanish.

Connect and Support

Georgia Appleseed advances justice for Georgia's underrepresented children to keep them in school, in healthy homes, and out of the justice system.

Join us by making a donation and/or becoming a pro bono partner.

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Connecting with you helps us build our community of advocates and amplify our mission to advance justice for children across Georgia. Follow our social media sites to stay up to date with resources, celebrations and announcements. View our video library on YouTube, be one of the first to follow our new Instagram account, and join us on LinkedIn and FaceBook.