Local organization Family Patterns Matter will be among the many agencies partnering with the Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services for the “State of Hope” initiative.
Family Patterns Matter works with youth and their families to try and break negative generational patterns, and also talks with youth about various issues including bullying and self harm.
Organizations around the state were invited to apply to be State of Hope sites. Five programs were awarded seed funding and technical support, while other organizations were also invited to participate. Family Patterns Matter is classified as an “emerging site.” There are a total of 57 participating organizations.
The State of Hope supports grass-roots, innovative efforts focusing on one or more of four categories: education, being/becoming trauma informed, quality caregiving and economic self-sufficiency.
“What it really is, is for this agency and the people within this agency to come alongside and work with and labor with all those of you who are in the community doing this good work, to try to help you do this work better,” said Tom Rawlings, interim DFCS state director. “And to encourage you to keep doing it, because the more that you and the community do this work, the better we can do our work.”
“It’s about supporting the front lines,” he said. “We know that there are folks out in the community who are already doing good work, and our job is to come out and reach out and say – how can we do this work together? Find out how we can do it better,” Rawlings said. “We can’t do this work alone.”
One goal of the State of Hope is for organizations to help communities take care of their own, said Dahlia Bell-Brown, DFCS chief innovation officer. If families can be supported, maybe children won’t ever have to come into foster care in the first place.
State of Hope partners in Region 4 were invited to a series of meetings Monday in Griffin. Region 4 covers Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Fayette, Henry, Spalding, Butts, Troup, Meriwether, Pike, Lamar and Upson counties.
“Learning often happens when you meet someone who does similar work,” Bell-Brown said. The various partners were given opportunities to network and connect with each other.
“We are very excited to be chosen,” said Linda Kirkpatrick of Family Patterns Matter. “We believe that hope is what it takes to make our families change.”
Kirkpatrick said since founding the organization five years ago, they found “our answers are found through the children – what they do, what they say, and how they react when you talk to them.
“Our idea is that through the kids, we understand what is needed in the family,” Kirkpatrick continued. “We know the resources, we want to connect them with them (resources) and let them not have to use them after a while,” she said. “Our main purpose is to preserve the family and to change the unhealthy generational patterns.”