Douglas County Juvenile Court, under the leadership of Judge Peggy Walker, has been named as a demonstration site for coming up with ways to help infants and families affected by substance abuse.
With a small grant from the federal government (~$70,000 a year for three years), Judge Walker hopes to develop a model for Georgia’s juvenile courts to be able to quickly identify and serve infants whose parents have abused opioids and other substances.
“My goal is to see Georgia’s juvenile courts become the front line for identifying these fragile babies and children early enough that already existing social services in communities can intervene and ensure that by the age of 6, they are thriving.”
Judge Walker wrote part of the grant application last month and has long been a leader in this area.
“I give credit to Justice Carol Hunstein of the Georgia Supreme Court who has urged me over the years to develop more expertise on these issues, especially baby brain development,” Judge Walker said. “It is our society’s best chance to make a difference, and judges can play crucial roles for infants and toddlers in making sure community and government services are delivered well.”
The Supreme Court of Georgia’s Committee on Justice for Children will help oversee the project and the Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts will administer the grant. The Georgia Office of the Child Advocate, Division of Family and Children Services and Department of Public Health will also be involved.
Full List of Supporting Partners for the Quality Improvement Center Community Collaborative Court Team (QIC-CCCT) demonstration site:
- Georgia’s Office of the Child Advocate, https://oca.georgia.gov/
- Georgia Child Fatality Review Program, https://gbi.georgia.gov/CFR
- Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, https://dbhdd.georgia.gov/
- Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services, https://dfcs.georgia.gov/
- Wellstar Health System, https://www.wellstar.org/pages/
- Together GA, https://www.togetherga.net/
- Georgia’s Department of Public Health, https://dph.georgia.gov/