Speaking at an event hosted by the nonprofit Speedway Children’s Charities at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, the governor said amendments to laws protecting children and an increased headcount at the state Department of Family and Children’s Services were positive steps forward.
“With the help of the general assembly, we have now added about 275 new caseworkers this year, which means more eyes, ears and feet on ground to be able to respond to reports of suspicious circumstances quickly,” Deal said. “We’ve also expanded the law in this state with regard to the reporting of cases, because we want to make sure when those reports are received, we have adequate personnel and resources to be able to thoroughly investigate each case.”
Organizations like the event’s host help make children’s lives better and keep them safer, he said to about 200 attendees, and encouraged them to be proactive in their support.
“The more children that can grow up in a safe, healthy environment and can get an education, the better off your community and our entire state will be,” Deal said.
To date, the Atlanta chapter of the 20-year-old nonprofit has distributed about $3 million to children’s charities throughout metro Atlanta and Georgia.
“Our mission is to care for children’s educational, financial, social and medical needs in order to help them lead productive lives,” Executive Director Scott Fillmore said, “and we’re really helping kids in our community, which is an important point to drive home.”
One of its local beneficiaries is the Children’s Urgent Care Clinic in Stockbridge, run by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“I understand that last year about 25,000 children from Henry County visited either the urgent clinic or the children’s hospital here in Atlanta, so this is indeed a good cause,” Deal said.
On the educational front, opportunities to improve academic achievement have increased, he said, citing a pre-event visit to Timber Ridge Elementary School in McDonough.
“It is one of most impressive elementary schools I’ve ever visited and one that is on the front line with the use of technology and learning,” Deal said.
“Students are learning in a different way today and this school system is truly moving into the 21st century in terms of educational content.”