January 2022


Over the last year, Georgia Appleseed-led efforts significantly impacted children and families across our state. Tens of thousands of kids stayed in school and out of the juvenile justice system, more than a thousand families were protected from eviction and homelessness, and hundreds of Georgians were trained as advocates for children.

With our powerful mission, energized team and extensive partnerships, we enter 2022 with renewed focus and determination. We will continue to address the needs of our young citizens by bringing together the adults: caregivers, schools, attorneys, legislators, courthouses, DFCS and the Georgia Department of Education. In this way, we ensure Georgia's youth are heard and supported through appropriate policy responses and systemic reforms.

Justice Conversations: Accountability Courts

Thank you to judges Amy Totenberg, Steven Grimberg and Asha Jackson, and participants who joined in person and online in December for an important conversation on the significance and effectiveness of accountability courts, which provide alternatives to sentencing and incarceration for those convicted of nonviolent crimes. The judges’ presentations highlighted the impact and success of current accountability courts in Georgia, the role of empathy in sentencing, and the active progress toward establishing accountability courts in Georgia’s federal system.

Extensive data support the economic and other benefits of accountability courts on the charged individual, the criminal justice system, and the greater community. While federal accountability courts have been growing rapidly throughout much of the U.S., Georgia remains a concerning gap.

Now exciting efforts are underway to remedy this, with the creation of a task force aiming to implement accountability courts at the federal level this year. With Georgia Appleseed’s focus on child welfare, particularly reducing children’s involvement in the criminal justice system, we will continue to follow and bolster accountability courts' development. We appreciate the distinguished judicial panelists, and our hosts King & Spalding and Taylor English, for making the event possible

New Programs and Operations Team Members

Senior Policy Counsel, Becky Hudock, has spent her career fighting for indigent clients in courts and advocating for increased access to substance abuse treatment and mental health supports. She joins us from Pennsylvania, where she served as a Public Defender for 14 years, and as the Deputy Director of the Office’s Juvenile Delinquency Division. There she witnessed how inadequate education supports, particularly for children of color and children with disabilities, resulted in increased contact with the juvenile court system. In 2018, she expanded the scope of the division’s practice to education advocacy and ultimately created the Office’s first Education Unit to advocate for kids in the school setting.

Becky was a Board Member for the Juvenile Defender Association of PA and was appointed by Governor Wolf to serve on the PA State Council for Interstate Juvenile Supervision. She received her B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and her J.D. from Loyola University School of Law, New Orleans. Becky lives in Atlanta with her two dogs.

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Fernando Silas, Operations and Communications Manager, brings wide-ranging experience in financial management, HR and business operations. A native of Barbados, Fernando was previously the Finance and Operations Manager at a school for neurodivergent students. He is a former entrepreneur and Business Development Manager for one of the largest Travel Management companies in the Caribbean. He studied Accounting at the University of the West Indies and holds a Masters in Risk Management at the University of Southampton in England.

Child Welfare Summit

Georgia Appleseed presented at the state-wide Child Welfare Summit in November. At the event, Georgia Appleseed staff, with the support of Dr. Josette Franklin of the Division of Family and Children Services ("DFCS"), conducted an information and training session on the School Disciplinary Hearing process for various stakeholders in the child advocacy space. The audience included case managers, CASAs, foster parents, and child advocates. At the summit, Georgia Appleseed staff was also able to connect with like-minded individuals and organizations committed to bettering the lives of Georgia's children and strengthened existing relationships with community stakeholders. 

Supporting Children in Foster Care

The FAIR Project continues to gain momentum. We revamped the intake process for case referrals and conducted numerous presentations for case managers, foster parents, and other community members in the space to advocate for Georgia's children in care.

As a result of these efforts, Georgia Appleseed has had a 100% response rate for all referrals and inquiries.


In collaboration with our partners at GetTheData, Georgia Appleseed has rolled out a robust evaluation process by which to measure the continued impact of the FAIR Project. Key to the child-centered evaluation process is gaining insight into the perceptions of the children in care themselves-- whether they felt they had an advocate in their corner, whether they felt as if their voices were heard in the school disciplinary process, and whether they felt they had experienced a fair disciplinary process overall. Georgia Appleseed will use evaluation results to further inform the scope and direction of the FAIR Project, as well as our legal and policy strategies moving forward. 

Sponsor Roaring for Justice - April 14, 2022


Georgia Appleseed's 17th annual signature fundraising event is aptly named Roaring for Justice this year, in homage to its Zoo Atlanta locale. Not only an enjoyable social and networking event overlooking the elephant savanna, Roaring for Justice will also raise crucial funds for our advocacy for Georgia’s children and families. Along with live musical entertainment, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres, we will toast Georgia’s Good Apples -- leading advocates for children and the firms and organizations committed to building a bright future for all of Georgia's children. 

We are actively seeking support from firms and corporations who value our work and would like to sponsor the event. View our sponsorship options or contact Michael Waller for further information.

Additional Resources

Here are a few pertinent and timely resources to share about justice initiatives around us:

As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives and our communities, these resource lists gathered by trusted partners may help connect resources to those in need:


Calling 211 or searching the website can help you find food, pay housing bills, access childcare, and more. 

Atlanta Legal Aid Services

This resource list includes information on health, unemployment, emergency food help, and more. 

Georgia Department of Education

This DOE site includes updates on coronavirus and schools and a link to the Georgia Department of Community Health’s Daily COVID-19 status report. 

Voices for Georgia’s Children

News and resources around COVID-19, including financial resources, food assistance, closures, and guidance on talking to children about the pandemic. 

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

CHOA's resource page provides news, FAQs and resources, including relevant links to information from the CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health.

Support Justice for Georgia's Children Now

We focus on dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, promoting behavioral health supports in schools, and advocating for healthy housing because we believe these areas are powerful levers for meaningful, systemic change.

Join us in creating systemic change by making a donation, sponsoring Roaring for Justice, and/or becoming a pro bono partner.