UGA receives $8.2 million grant to support families in Georgia child welfare system

Author: Cal Powell

A team of UGA faculty members, led by FACS researcher Ted Futris, has received an $8.2 million grant to improve the lives of children and families in the child welfare system in Georgia.

The project will focus on creating positive and stable homes through the integration of research-based services designed to improve healthy marriage and relationship skills and promote economic stability.

The multi-disciplinary team seeks to address the needs of the region’s highest-risk children and will include services for new parents, foster parents and reunified families, or biological parents of children 18 and under who were removed from their home and have been reunited.

With numerous state and local partners, including the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, Georgia Family Connection, Great Start Georgia, Strengthening Families Georgia, Project Safe and UGA Extension, the five-year project will reach nearly 1,500 families in a 12-county, mostly rural, region in northeast Georgia.

“Project FREE” (Fostering Relationship and Economic Enrichment) will deliver the Elevate curriculum, a research-informed couples education program developed by Futris and researchers at Auburn University. Participants also will receive a three-week financial literacy education program.

Futris, an associate professor in the department of human development and family science and a UGA Extension family life specialist, is the project director.

Other FACS faculty members involved in the project are Lance Palmer and Joseph Goetz from the department of financial planning, housing and consumer economics; and Jerry Gale and Jay Mancini from human development and family science.

The project also includes faculty partners from the School of Social Work and the College of Education.

The grant was awarded by the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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