AUGUSTA – Georgia families would be stronger, children safer and the incidence of abuse and neglect reduced in the goals of an innovative initiative by the state child and family services agency kicked off Monday.

Led by the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, in partnership with Georgia State University’s Child Welfare Training Collaborative and the Georgia Family Connection partnership, the initiative is called State of Hope. The aim is to transform Georgia into a collection of communities where children and families have the support they need to thrive and the security to be hopeful about their future.

The announcement was made during a luncheon with 150 community leaders on the first day of the Division’s four-day of meetings in the Augusta region as part of its ongoing Destination Hope series around the state. Monday was the first day organizations around the state could apply to be designated as a State of Hope site.

“We use this notion of collective impact through public and private partnerships that include members of the community that have varied experiences and resources,” said Virginia Pryor, director of the Division. “To really partner with them, we have to ask the question ‘how might we be able to transform our communities? How might we be able to improve outcomes for children and families working together?’ That’s a change from just looking to the public entities to do that.”

“Hope is needed in every Georgia community because families deserve to be safe, supported and have resources that are designed with their input. Additionally, there are a record number of children in foster care, resources are limited, and many individuals and families are in crisis. Our local communities often have the best answers to address these local needs,” said Pryor.

Planning for the State of Hope was announced in May 2017 as part of Georgia’s observance of National Foster Care Month. Organizations will be invited to apply for their projects to be designated as State of Hope sites. Three to five sites will be chosen to receive seed funding and technical assistance; however, all applicants will be invited to become part of a network focused on developing partnerships, sharing ideas, and accessing resources.

To learn more or participate in the State of Hope initiative, go to

To learn more about being a foster parent or ways to support them, call 877-210-KIDS or go to