Summer 2018
Talley Wells,
Executive Director
 A Look at the Juvenile Code

Is it working? What needs to be improved? What should we do next? These are critical questions to ask after a law or policy is passed or an impact lawsuit is won. There is much to be learned from investigating how a policy change or court decision is being implemented, what additional fixes are needed, and what is working. 

Georgia Appleseed and pro bono attorneys and professionals from thirteen law firms and organizations embarked on this task over the last year by assessing Georgia's Juvenile Code. The Code was passed in 2013 and went into effect January 1, 2014. The advocacy for the new Code started long before its passage through the JUSTGeorgia Coalition, which included Georgia Appleseed, the Barton Child Center for Law and Policy, and Voices for Georgia's Children. 

Our recently released Assessment of the Juvenile Code is entitled: "Embracing Common Wisdom." Much of the Code is working as intended, but there are parts of the Code that need improved implementation. The report also includes stakeholder input on two other important issues (Appendix C): shackling of children and the age of children who are included in the "juvenile delinquency" provisions of the Code. You can read the report here

A critical finding in our Assessment is that there are significant differences in how the Children in Need of Services (CHINS) provisions of the Juvenile Code are being implemented. This has caused stakeholders to differ on whether CHINS is working well. The purpose of CHINS was to separate certain offenses, such as truancy, running away, and curfew violations, from more serious offenses. Children involved in these cases were to be provided more community services and less punitive measures, such as detention. Examples of such services could include: risk reduction programs, anger management, counseling, and mentoring. (A 2017 Barton Center presentation on CHINS can be found here, which includes examples of diversion programs from Forsyth and Cherokee Counties). Our Assessment found the success of CHINS is dependent on the resources and services available in a specific community. There is also a need for better coordination of CHINS services across the state. 

Successful implementation of CHINS is critical for many of our state's children to receive the supports they need before becoming more seriously involved in the justice system. The good news is that work has begun to improve CHINS implementation. Funding was appropriated for a Statewide CHINS Coordinator in the recent session of the General Assembly. The Council of Juvenile Court Judges is currently seeking the right person for this position. More work and resources are needed to implement CHINS and the Juvenile Code. Georgia Appleseed will continue its advocacy along with its partners to ensure successful implementation for Georgia's children.

Read past Executive Director's and Guest Blogs here.  

Our Growing Team
New Board Directors Bring Expertise, Diverse Backgrounds
Georgia Appleseed welcomes four new Board Directors whose professional expertise and community involvement will bring tremendous insight to the GA Appleseed team. Click on an image to read more about each member's background and experiences: 

Kenneth Dyer        Kim Anderson       Amy Steigerwalt    David Brackett       
         

Sheronn Harris, Esq.
Urban Leaders Fellow
Sheronn Harris joins Georgia Appleseeed as the 2018 Summer Policy Fellow. Sheronn comes to GA Appleseed with an impressive array of professional and volunteer accomplishments. Sheronn will be assisting Staff Attorney Terrence Wilson with work related to a number of different projects and initiatives. Read more about Sheronn here

Georgia Education Climate Coalition (GECC)
The Georgia Education Climate Coalition met last month to discuss the critical issue of implementing the recently passed HB763, which adds "school climate" to the responsibilities of each county's Student Attendance Committee. This requirement is a critical opportunity to show the impact of PBIS and build on it's success across the state. State PBIS coordinator, Justin Hill, updated the coalition with the state's most recent PBIS data -- 1361 schools are now trained in PBIS, and the program is entering the next phase of development, which includes coordinated training for Tier 2 implementation.

Read more about GECC and their work here
   
Justin Hill presents state-wide PBIS updates to GECC at their meeting last month. 
"How do you spell fun?"

Spellbound a S-U-C-C-E-S-S
The Young Professionals Council recently h eld their Annual Spellbound for Justice SCRABBLE (R) Tournament, attended by 18 teams and over 100 guests. Lawyers, professionals, summer associates and friends gathered for food, drinks, friendly competition, and prizes. Krevolin & Horst's team "Scrabba Dabba Due Process" took home the trophy and earned a year's worth of bragging rights for their firm. See more highlights from the night on  our Facebook page.

Thank you to all of our sponsors and participants for helping made Spellbound possible! 
The winning team from Krevolin & Horst (and their mascot).
 
Georgia Appleseed's YPC Executive Committee:
Row 1: Alison Ballard, Flora Manship, Rachael Zichella; Row 2: Ebony Mobley, Talley Wells, Rachel Platt, Rebekah Runyon, Adam Ozgo, Micah Moon; Row 3: Stan Hill, Ross Burris, Craig Friedman

All-In for Positive School Climate
Georgia Appleseed is proud to support the Georgia Education Climate Coalition's "All In!" Campaign. The All In! Campaign is about encouraging students, parents, guardians, teachers, school staff, school administration, local neighborhoods, faith communities and businesses to get involved in efforts to improve the education climate of early care centers, pre-schools and schools where their children attend and which help shape the economic and social health of their communities. Join the campaign or learn more about positive school climate here. #allinclimate
Happy New (Fiscal) Year! Thank you to all of our donors, funders, volunteers, and pro bono partners who helped make Fiscal Year 2018 a success. Help us keep the momentum going by making a FY19 "New Year" donation online today.